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The Demographics of Polling Places

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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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Date Created
2017-12

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Assessing the Health Insurance Needs of the Low-Income Hispanic/Latino Population in Phoenix, Arizona

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The growing Hispanic population in Phoenix, Arizona frequently lacks financial resources which may limit their access to health care. The goal of this study was to identify the ideal factors in a health insurance plan for the Hispanic/Latino population in

The growing Hispanic population in Phoenix, Arizona frequently lacks financial resources which may limit their access to health care. The goal of this study was to identify the ideal factors in a health insurance plan for the Hispanic/Latino population in Phoenix, AZ. A survey was designed to gather information regarding demographics, health insurance, preferences, and affordability. The survey was completed by 260 participants. Several multivariate regressions were run using SAS Statistical Software. The final model generated explained 4.48% of the variation in the data set. It showed that an individual who identified as Hispanic/Latino was 8.2% less likely to have health insurance. In addition, an individual who identified as a US Citizen was 23% more likely to have health insurance. To improve access and enrollment among the Hispanic/Latino population, further investigation is needed to identify relevant communication techniques that increase enrollment among this high-risk community.

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2018-05

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A Global Climate Crisis: Why is Arizona Behind The Renewable Energy Curve?

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Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to contribute heavily to global warming. It is estimated that the international community has only until 2050 to eliminate total carbon emissions or risk irreversible climate change. Arizona, despite its vast solar energy resources, is

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to contribute heavily to global warming. It is estimated that the international community has only until 2050 to eliminate total carbon emissions or risk irreversible climate change. Arizona, despite its vast solar energy resources, is particularly behind in the global transition to carbon-free energy. This paper looks to explore issues that may be preventing Arizona from an efficient transition to carbon-free generation technologies. Identifiable factors include outdated state energy generation standards, lack of oversight and accountability of Arizona’s electricity industry regulatory body, and the ability for regulated utilities to take advantage of “dark money” campaign contributions. Various recommendations for mitigating the factors preventing Arizona from a carbon-free future are presented. Possibilities such as modernizing state energy generation standards, increasing oversight and accountability of Arizona’s electricity industry regulatory body, and potential market restructuring which would do away with the traditional regulated utility framework are explored. The goal is to inform readers of the issues plaguing the Arizona energy industry and recommend potential solutions moving forward.

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2020-12

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Arizona Clean Elections: The Impact of Publicly Financed Campaigns on Representation in the Legislature

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Campaign finance regulation has drastically changed since the founding of the Republic. Originally, few laws regulated how much could be contributed to political campaigns and who could make contributions. One by one, Congress passed laws to limit the possibility of

Campaign finance regulation has drastically changed since the founding of the Republic. Originally, few laws regulated how much could be contributed to political campaigns and who could make contributions. One by one, Congress passed laws to limit the possibility of corruption, for example by banning the solicitation of federal workers and banning contributions from corporations. As the United States moved into the 20th Century, regulations became more robust with more accountability. The modern structure of campaign finance regulation was established in the 1970's with legislation like the Federal Election Campaign Act and with Supreme Court rulings like in Buckley v. Valeo. Since then, the Court has moved increasingly to strike down campaign finance laws they see as limiting to First Amendment free speech. However, Arizona is one of a handful of states that established a system of publicly financed campaigns at the state-wide and legislative level. Passed in 1998, Proposition 200 attempted to limit the influence of money politics. For my research I hypothesized that a public financing system like the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) would lead to Democrats running with public funds more than Republicans, women running clean more than men, and rural candidates running clean more than urban ones, and that Democrats, women, and rural candidates would win in higher proportions than than if they ran a traditional campaign. After compiling data from the CCEC and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, I found that Democrats do run with public funds in statistically higher proportions than Republicans, but when they do they lose in higher proportions than Democrats who run traditionally. Female candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008, after which the difference was not statistically significant. For all year ranges women who ran with public money lost in higher proportions than women who ran traditionally. Similarly, rural candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008. However, they only lost at higher proportions from 2002 to 2008 instead of the whole range like with women and Democratic candidates.

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2016-12