How Age and Wealth Impact Voting Method During the Pandemic
Despite the political climate, we see that wealth and age have a significant impact on peoples’ decision to vote by mail
Voting method was one of the most talked about topics in the US 2020 General Election, and this was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many voters avoided crowds at the polls, instead using absentee or mail-in ballots to vote.
While it’s been proven that vote-by-mail ballots are more frequently used by Democrats while in-person ballots are more frequently used by Republicans, little examination has been done into other driving factors — this newly published project aims to rectify this.
In Minnesota, voter registration is public information, making it possible for researchers to analyze voters by their date of birth, home address, and vote method. By combining this public information with household income data from Estated and foot traffic and point of interest (POI) data from SafeGraph, researchers can paint a clear picture of who votes in-person or by mail-in ballots.
Their research showed that when looking at home value, there is a clear positive correlation between home value and portion voting by mail. They originally calculated this based solely on home value. They then adjusted values to account for the fact that home values vary across regions, and two homes of the same actual value may have different values in relation to each other and the market of the homes.
They also found that the most elderly voted by mail at the highest rates, presumably due to accessibility. For those born between the 1920s and 1970s, age had a positive relationship with the portion of vote by mail, showing that the oldest people vote by mail the most. However, when examining the period of the 1970s to 2000s, we see a slightly negative relationship with the portion of vote by mail.
Make sure you check out the full overview of the project:
This study was made possible by combining SafeGraph mobility data with other information. To learn how others are leveraging Placekey and SafeGraph to inspire and innovate, join the Placekey Community.