This simulation models voter turnout based upon the distance to polling stations and population density. This simulation combines 2018 census data from Durham County, North Carolina to determine population density, and live polling site locations.
The simulation is run for 215 steps
- 3 steps to initialize the simulation
- 15 days of early voting, with polling stations opening for an average of 12 hours
- Election day voting, with polls open for 20 hours
The early voting period is 16 days
Base turnout and processing rate at polls were determined by reporting on votes cast in the first 5 days of early voting
Distance to polls
When voters have to travel farther to get to a polling site turnout is depressed. We've represent census tracts (the smallest region of measurement) based on the centroids of their geographic regions, and it's the distance from this location to a polling place that is used to determine how the turnout rate is affected.
Lines at polls
Voters who have to wait longer than an hour at a polling location are captured as "leftover" voters. A percent of these voters drop out of line, and the presence of long lines at voting stations also serves to depress voter turnout.
Election Day voting
The same principles and behaviors as early voting apply, except that now all likely voters who have not voted attempt to go to the polls in one day.
In this county (and likely in most counties) there are many more polling locations than during the early voting period.
Polling places are represented as blue agents. Their height displays the current amount of voters that are waiting in line to vote.
Population tracts are represented as yellow agents. Their height displays the current amount of voters who have not yet gone out to vote, or have dropped out of line.
In the globals file, we can adjust the "early_pct_closed" and "election_day_pct_closed" values to understand how closures of polling places can affect the total number of ballots that are cast.
"early_pct_closed" : This variable determines what percent of early polling locations are randomly shut down. If the value is 0, all locations are open, and if the value is 1, all are closed.
"election_day_pct_closed" : This variable determines what percent of election day polling locations are randomly shut down. It behaves identically to "early_pct_closed".
The defined experiments run the simulation with a range of values between 0 and 0.9 for both of these global values, allowing you to explore that trend.