American Politics Research
This paper studies how spatial proximity to pre-election police killings affects voter turnout. I argue that incidents of police violence have neighborhood-level effects. Nearby voters are more likely to learn about proximal killings than those further away. If perceived as unjust, police killings teach political lessons that reduce voters’ trust in government and political efficacy. In turn, this impacts voter turnout. Observing the 2016 presidential election, I test this theory using geolocated voter data and a difference-in-differences design with matched groups. I find that pre-election police killings reduce voter turnout by 3 percentage points in the killings’ one-mile radius. Space and race matter. Police killings reduce Black voter turnout by 5.9 percentage points in the killings’ one-mile radius, but Black voters one to two miles away from the killings are unaffected. However, police killings do not affect White and Latino voter turnout regardless of the distance.
Markarian, G. Augustin. The Impact of Police Killings on Proximal Voter Turnout. American Politics Research, 51, 3: 414–430, 2022. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Political Science: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1532673X221139142
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