About

I am a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests are elections and voting behavior, state and local politics, educational policy, and experimental methods.

My dissertation, The Effect of Electoral Rules on Participation, Competition, and Representation in Local Government: Lessons from School Boards, addresses the extent to which the presence of party labels on the ballot affect voter participation, electoral competition, and representation at the local level. A portion of this research appears in a forthcoming article in Political Research Quarterly, where I provide evidence that those elected by nonpartisan ballot are polarized in their views on particular issues, while no evidence of polarization exists among. At the same time, providing partisan cues with respect to these issues disproportionately polarizes board members who run in partisan elections.

In separate chapters of my dissertation, I show that partisan school board elections tend to attract fewer candidates and are no more likely to be contested than nonpartisan elections. In primary elections, counties with nonpartisan systems also tend to generate at least as much, if not more, voter participation, than otherwise similar districts that elect their boards on explicitly partisan ballots. Together, these results indicate that the differences between partisan and nonpartisan elections are not as straightforward as either reformers or the defenders of parties have argued. In addition, my within-state research design provides the first evidence about whether partisanship in policy opinions results from the presence of party labels on the ballot.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in History and Masters Degree in Education from the University of Florida. Before coming to Madison I taught history and government at the middle and high school level.