Pen, to Paper, to the Polls

How to Cite

Donohoe, B. (2021). Pen, to Paper, to the Polls: Initiative Signature Gathering and Electoral Outcomes. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, 11(1).


Does the act of signing a petition to place initiatives on the ballot make a voter more likely to vote for that measure? Previous research suggests that television advertising can influence vote share for ballot propositions and that signature gathering campaigns increase registration and turnout and decrease ballot roll-off but has failed to examine the link between petition drives and vote share. Using heteroskedasticity-robust regression with clustered standard errors and multiple levels of fixed effects, I examine whether either statewide spending on petition circulation or the number of voters a petition campaign reaches in a county has a significant impact on vote share. Though statewide spending analysis proves largely inconclusive, the strength of a petition drive within a county has a significant, positive effect on vote share even after endogenizing campaign strategy and incorporating turnout effects.
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