Author

Eric F. Bush

Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Alex Heckert, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

J. Beth Mabry, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study sought to assess how poll workers are affected by recent electoral reforms at the polling place, including voter identification, early voting, and Election Day registration. A political behavior theory, bureaucratic theory, and stress and coping theory provided a theoretical framework for the study. Quantitative methodology was used to explore secondary data collected by the United States Election Assistance Commission and primary data collected using a questionnaire administered to poll workers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.

This study has both theoretical and practical implications. Few scholarly studies have focused specifically on poll workers. This study gives a more complete understanding of public engagement and extended bureaucratic and stress and coping theories to the election administration context.

This study finds a strong relationship exists between more training and the recent electoral reforms at the polling place. The study also finds that poll workers have less sense of control in states having an electoral reform. Among the strongest findings from this study is that poll workers in states having an electoral reform experience more burnout. Applying this study’s findings can help election administrators in their efforts to recruit and retain enough poll workers to meet the needs of modern elections, and the findings provide beneficial insights for policy makers.

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