First Advisor

Richard Clucas

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




Hispanic Americans -- Politics and government, Voter turnout -- United States, Vote-by-mail elections -- United States -- States, Voter suppression, Postal voting -- United States, Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 21st century




Voter suppression has damaged our democracy and will continue to do so until citizens are given accessibility to voting through various means such as vote-by-mail. Voter suppression has disproportionately and historically affected people of color. The basis of this thesis is to highlight the effects of voter suppression in the Latino community, but more importantly to look at the possible benefits of vote-by-mail as a new political reform system to increase voter turnout. The 2020 election was a unique and historical moment for further research on this topic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, only a handful of states had vote-by-mail, however, due to the circumstances of the pandemic, numerous states allowed it. The purpose of this thesis is to compare and contrast how vote-by-mail affects voter turnout by focusing on states that adopted the system in the 2020 election with states who already had it implemented. The overall goal is to understand if vote-by-mail has a positive or negative effect on our democracy and how this system of political reform can help increase voter turnout.


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