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Will Shorter Lines Boost Voter Turnout at the Polls?

The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration has released a report encouraging jurisdictions across the country to cut down on long lines at polls on Election Day by expanding early voting, voter at pollsincreasing online voter registration, and checking voter registration lists against those provided by other states. Lauded by those who favor increasing voter access, the report was ordered by President Obama’s administration in an effort to keep the 5-hour lines recorded during the 2012 presidential election from happening again.

In addition to the structural barriers voters face as addressed in the report, like long lines and voter registration, there are certain personal experiences that relate to higher levels of electoral participation. PRRI’s own Millennial Values and Voter Engagement in the 2012 Election, released just one month before the election, explored the power of parental example on voting.  It found younger Millennials (ages 18 to 25) whose parents took them to the voting booth on Election Day as children were much more likely to be registered to vote and were more certain they would vote in the 2012 presidential election. More than 8-in-10 (84 percent) younger Millennials who reported that they went with their parents to the voting booth as kids said they were currently registered to vote, compared to 55 percent of who did not accompany their parents. Similarly, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of Millennials who traveled with their parents to the voting booth said they’re absolutely certain they’d vote in November, compared to 40 percent of those who did not.

While working to make ballot-casting more efficient could do well to boost civic engagement, will it be enough to significantly increase voter turnout? Let us know what you think in the comments.