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Contact: Vicki Cohn, (914) 740-2156,
Is an Early Vote a Wasted Vote in Primary Elections?

New Rochelle, NY, January 19, 2012—Many Americans are now able to cast their votes before the actual Election Day in their state, opting to submit an early “absentee” ballot or to cast an early vote in person. But in a presidential primary, early “convenience” voting may have unexpected consequences on the outcome of the election, and may also result in wasted votes as the list of candidates keeps changing, a fascinating phenomenon explored in an article in Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online.

Convenience voting offers Americans “the opportunity to cast ballots without being exposed to the information revealed in the final weeks leading up to Election Day,” explain Marc Meredith, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, and Neil Malhotra, Associate Professor, Stanford University. They studied the effects of voting-by-mail, for example, during the 2008 California presidential primary and showed that early voting “affects the relative performance of candidates remaining in the race and increases the probability of selecting withdrawn candidates,” describing their findings in the article “Convenience Voting Can Affect Election Outcomes.”

Paul Gronke, Co-Editor of Election Law Journal, says that “In the past 20 years, early voting has revolutionized American elections, as voters opted for convenience over the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. But early voting in presidential primaries is a much different animal, because the candidates still standing on Election Day may not be the same ones on ballots cast weeks before.” Gronke warns that “Meredith and Malhotra’s paper raises serious concerns about the use of early voting in primaries. In close contests with changing lists of candidates—as in the 2012 GOP contest—it may call into question the legitimacy of the outcome.”

Election Law Journal is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published quarterly in print and online by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Led by Co-Editors Paul Gronke, Associate Professor of Political Science at Reed College (Portland, OR) and, Daniel P. Tokaji, JD, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, the Journal covers the emerging specialty of election law for practicing attorneys, election administrators, political professionals, legal scholars, and social scientists, and covers election design and reform on the federal, state, and local levels in the U.S. and in 75 countries around the world. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed online.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science, biomedical research, and law, including Biotechnology Law Report, Gaming Law Review and Economics, and Environmental Justice. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 70 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at our website.