Delegating Disenfranchisement Decisions
49 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2006
Date Written: April 29, 2006
Most empirical analyses of felon disenfranchisement and other voting rights laws focus on the implications of the laws on potential voters and political outcomes as if they are fully implemented. However, the administrative structure used by states to implement these laws varies as well as the extent that the implementation is monitored and the competitiveness of the electoral environment. We formally model the process by which states choose voting rights measures such as felon disenfranchisement laws. We find that different administrative and monitoring structures as well as competitiveness of the electoral environment are likely to affect both the adoption and implementation of the laws. Even states with identical laws but different administrative and/or monitoring systems and different levels of electoral competition are predicted to have different degrees of implementation. We argue that empirical research that ignores these interactive e¤ects may inaccurately estimate the effects of the laws on potential voters and political outcomes.
Keywords: disenfranchisment laws, delegation
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