Objective The aim of this article is to assess the impact of Covid‐19 safety measures on voter wait times during the 2020 U.S. election. Methods Multinomial logistic regression models predicting voter wait times contingent on the presence of Covid safety measures: poll workers wearing face coverings protective barriers separating voters and workers voters and booths socially distanced hand sanitizer single‐use ballot marking pens and cleaning voting booths between voters as well as an additive index of these measures. Results Findings suggest Covid‐safety measures significantly affected voter wait times. Effects vary by Covid safety feature with face coverings barriers social distancing and cleaning booths increasing voter wait times (typically around 10–30 min) single‐use pens decreasing voter wait times and hand sanitizer having no effect. Results are further confirmed using an additive index. Conclusion Covid safety features likely increased voter wait times during the 2020 U.S. election potentially accounting for a portion of the increased voter wait time compared to previous elections.
Social Science Quarterly 2022 vol. 103 issue 2 380-398