What Do I Need to Vote? Bias in Information Provision by Local Election Officials

Source: Julie K. Faller, Noah L. Nathan and Ariel R. White, Harvard University, Preliminary draft, May 10, 2013

From the abstract:
The adoption of voter identification (ID) requirements has raised concerns that these laws differentially reduce turnout among minorities. We use a field experiment to investigate one mechanism by which these laws could reduce turnout: differential in- formation provision about voting requirements to minorities. We contact over 7,000 local election administrators in 48 states and observe that they provide different in- formation about ID requirements to voters of different putative ethnicities. Emails sent from Latino aliases are significantly less likely to receive any response from local election officials than non-Latino white aliases and receive responses of lower quality. This raises concerns about the effect of voter ID laws on access to the franchise and about bias in the provision of information by local bureaucrats more generally.