Published: February 2011
Author(s): Scott Orford, Collin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, Galina Borisyuk

Environment and Planning C, Government and Policy 29(1) pp 149-169

Recent initiatives for increasing participation in UK elections have yet to replace the traditional method of in-person voting at designated polling stations. Recent research has shown that voter turnout can be sensitive to geographical factors relating to the costs of voting, such as distance travelled to the polling station; government policy has stated that accessibility is a key criterion when siting polling stations. With this paper we directly address these important issues by predicting the probability of electoral turnout to parliamentary, local, and European elections when polling stations are resited to optimal and suboptimal locations based on polling district voter density in the London Borough of Brent. The differences in these predicted probabilities show that, for some polling districts, resiting the polling place could improve the probability of turnout by up to five percentage points. These findings lead to some recommendations for future policy relating to the siting of polling places in the UK.

Keywords
Polling Districts, Binomial Multilevel Modelling, Accessibility, Density Measures, WISERD