"Trusting the Process: The (De)activating Effect of Electoral Trust on Non-Voting Participation in the 2020 American Electorate" with Kyle L. Saunders. Preprint
This article draws on the extant trust and participation literature to explore how trust in the election process affects non-voting participation (NVP), i.e., non-institutionalized electoral activities that can be consequential to democracy. We hypothesize that those with liberal issue preferences/operational ideology and those with less electoral trust will engage in more NVP. We further posit that issue preferences/operational ideology moderate the effect of electoral trust on NVP, particularly for conservatives. Using data from the 2020 American National Election Study survey (N=8,280), we provide some of the first evidence indicating that distrust in the election process, independent of political and social trust, increases NVP. Our findings also reveal that liberal issue preferences/operational ideology have little effect on the relationship between electoral trust and NVP, but those with conservative issue preferences/operational ideology and high electoral trust engage in the least NVP.
"This One Goes to Twelve: The Dimensionality of Non-Voting Participation and Voting
in the 2020 Electorate" with Kyle L. Saunders. Preprint
Despite a vast body of literature on political participation, scholarship often overlooks partisan and ideological differences between voting and non-voting participation. Whereas voting signals partisan support, we argue non-voting participation allows individuals to exercise ideological ideals before an election and can thus increase the likelihood of voting. Using data from the 2020 American National Election Studies survey (N=8,280) and 2020 Cooperative Election Study (N=61,000), we find non-voting participation indeed serves a more ideological function compared to voting. We also add to literature that links non-voting participation with a higher likelihood of voting by demonstrating this effect is strongest for pure Independents. These phenomena hold across three analyses and amidst a wide range of antecedents, providing strong evidence to suggest non-voting participation is more ideologically-driven than voting and is especially important for those who do not identify with one of the two major political parties.