US Policy Changes Vol.32 (Miscellaneous Vol.2 – voter turnout)

Here is an academic article on voter turnout: Increasing Voter Turnout: Is Democracy Day the Answer? (PDF; February 2009) | Henry S. Farber, Center for Economic Policy Studies (CEPS) @PrincetonEcon. Excerpt is on our own.

… Some have argued that an important cause of low turnoput in the United States is a cumbersome registration process. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 (the so-called “Motor-Voter” law) was passed in order to address this. However, while Motor-Voter does appear to have increased the voter registration rate its effect on turnout is not clear.
Another proposal to increase voter turnout is to declare Election Day a national holiday (“Democracy Day”). Presumably, the argument is that granting workers the day off would give them the time to vote when they otherwise might not. The economic cost of such a holiday is substantial, particularly understanding that the act of voting is 1) generally not very time consuming (at least compared with the length of a work day) and 2) that the polls are generally open from early morning until late evening. …

2 Data and Simple Statistics on Voter Turnout
• Voter turnout is substantially higher in 2004 (a presidential election year) at 71.6 per-cent than in 2006 (an off year) at 54.3 percent. This reflects the perceived importance of presidential elections.
• More educated individuals…

2.1 Election Holiday Status and Voter Turnout
There are thirteen states with an election day holiday for state employees: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. … However, absent the holiday policy, turnout would, counter-factually, have been lower in the holiday states. …

Table 1

5 Concluding Remarks
There is no evidence from the “natural experiment” of states providing an election holiday for state employees that such holidays significantly increase voter turnout. While there is some evidence that voter turnout is higher overall in states with an election holiday for state employees, there is no particular effect on turnout among state employees. I conclude that having an election holiday, by itself, is not an effective strategy to increase voter turnout.