Lisa Bryant, Ph.D.
California State University, Fresno
Year of PhD: 2014
Address: 2225 East San Ramon, M/S MF19
City: Fresno, California - 93740
Country: United States
Lisa A. Bryant is an Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fresno. Her research focuses on election administration, political behavior/voter behavior, campaigns and elections, public opinion, gender politics, and political methodology, focusing on experimental and survey research methods. Her work has been published in several journals including American Politics Research, Political Behavior, Electoral Studies, Electoral Behavior, and Publius: The Journal of Federalism.
Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior
Research Methods & Research Design
Race, Ethnicity and Politics
Gender and Politics
Campaigns And Elections
Gender And Representation
Countries of Interest
The majority of my work focuses on elections, election administration, voter behavior, and public opinion. I also do work on gender and representation, specifically motherhood and how it plays a role in shaping legislative agendas.
Unlike citizens in nearly all other democracies, most U.S. citizens bear the responsibility for registering to vote. We test whether states can help citizens overcome the barriers to registration and turnout using a simple postcard. To do this, we leverage a new program that brings states together to improve the quality of their voter registration rolls and generate lists of eligible but unregistered citizens. Using a unique list of eligible but unregistered citizens from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, we partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Office to conduct a large-scale voter registration field experiment prior to the 2016 election. We provide new tests of traditional theories related to lowering the costs of registration as well as new theories related to promoting government responsiveness. We find that contact in the form of a single postcard from the Department of State led to a one percentage point increase in registration and a 0.9-point increase in turnout, regardless of the content of the postcard. Registration effects were strongest among young, first-time voters. Importantly, new registrants voted at a rate far exceeding rates found in previous registration drives.
Since the 2000 election, researchers have taken an interest in the role of voter confidence and its importance as an assessment of public trust in electoral outcomes. Many factors may influence voter confidence including the way in which a voter casts their ballot. Previous research has found that absentee voters consistently report the lowest levels of confidence that their votes were counted correctly. This study uses an experiment to examine how voting method impacts voter confidence. Voters were randomly assigned to either an in-person or absentee voting condition. Participants assigned to the absentee condition expressed lower levels of confidence that their votes would be counted correctly than those assigned to the in-person voting condition. Voters who had to ask for assistance during the experiment also reported lower levels of confidence. This could have implications for voter confidence levels nationally as vote-by-mail continues to grow in popularity.
We address the frequent critique that voter registration is a barrier to participation in the US. Institutional reforms to voter registration produce only small impacts on participation. We show the registration barrier can be reduced without changing laws or administrative processes using official communication seeking to change individual political behavior. In collaboration with state election agencies in two states, we conducted large-scale field experiments using low cost postcards aimed at increasing registration among eligible but unregistered citizens. The experiments find statistically and substantively significant effects on registration and turnout in subsequent elections. The research partnership with election officials is unusual and important for understanding electoral participation. Further, the population targeted for registration is broader than prior experiments on voter registration in the US. The results provide important insights about voter registration as a barrier to political participation, plus practical guidance for election officials to reduce this barrier.
Issues and policies pertaining to children and families are often labeled “women’s issues” and assumed to be on the radar of all women, but we argue that they are more salient for mothers, particularly working mothers, than for other women. This study examines the role of motherhood as an identity for women in Congress by looking at the introduction of bills that affect children and families from 1973 through 2013. We define working mothers as women who have children below 18 years of age at home while they are in office, as opposed to those who have adult children or no children. Our findings show that Congressional working mothers are more likely to introduce legislation that address issues specific to parents and children. We also find that legislation specifically dealing with children’s health and welfare is more likely to be introduced by members with children than those without. * Winner Best Paper Published in American Politics Research in 2019.
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