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The Demographics of Polling Places

Description

Elections in the United States are highly decentralized with vast powers given to the states to control laws surrounding voter registration, primary procedures, and polling places even in elections of federal officials. There are many individual factors that predict a

Elections in the United States are highly decentralized with vast powers given to the states to control laws surrounding voter registration, primary procedures, and polling places even in elections of federal officials. There are many individual factors that predict a person's likelihood of voting including race, education, and age. Historically disenfranchised groups are still disproportionately affected by restrictive voter registration and ID laws which can suppress their turnout. Less understood is how election-day polling place accessibility affects turnout. Absentee and early voting increase accessibility for all voters, but 47 states still rely on election-day polling places. I study how the geographic allocation of polling places and the number of voters assigned to each (polling place load) in Maricopa County, Arizona has affected turnout in primary and general elections between 2006 and 2016 while controlling for the demographics of voting precincts. This represents a significant data problem; voting precincts changed three times during the time studied and polling places themselves can change every election. To aid in analysis, I created a visualization that allows for the exploration of polling place load, precinct demographics, and polling place accessibility metrics in a map view of the county. I find through a spatial regression model that increasing the load on a polling place can decrease the election-day turnout and prohibitively large distances to the polling place have a similar effect. The effect is more pronounced during general elections and is present at varying levels during each of the 12 elections studied. Finally, I discuss how early voting options appear to have little positive effect on overall turnout and may in fact decrease it.

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Created

Date Created
2017-12

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Impacts of new crop portfolios on water consumption in Maricopa County

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Agriculture is the second largest water consumer in the Phoenix Metropolitan region, after the municipal sector. A significant portion of the cultivated land and agricultural water demand is from the production of animal feed, including alfalfa (~69% of total cropland

Agriculture is the second largest water consumer in the Phoenix Metropolitan region, after the municipal sector. A significant portion of the cultivated land and agricultural water demand is from the production of animal feed, including alfalfa (~69% of total cropland area), corn (~8), and sorghum (-3%), which are both exported and needed to support local dairy industry. The goal of this thesis is to evaluate the impacts on water demand and crop production of four different crop portfolios using alfalfa, corn, sorghum, and feed barley. For this aim, the Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) platform and the embedded MABIA agronomic module are applied to the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA), a political/hydrological region including most of Phoenix Metro. The simulations indicate that the most efficient solution is a portfolio where all study crop production is made up by sorghum, with an increase of 153% in crop yield and a reduction of 60% of water consumption compared to current conditions. In contrast, a portfolio where all study crop production is made up by alfalfa, which is primary crop grown in current conditions, decreased crop yield by 77% and increases water demand by 105%. Solutions where all study crop production is achieved with corn or feed barley lead to a reduction of 77% and 65% of each respective water demand, with a portfolio of all corn for study crop production increasing crop yield by 245% and a portfolio of all feed barley for study crop production reducing crop yield by 29%.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05