Voting in a global pandemic: Assessing dueling influences of Covid‐19 on turnout Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective:We investigate the impact of a global health crisis on political behavior. Specifically, we assess the impact of Covid-19 incidence rates, and the impact of temporal and spatial proximity to the crisis, on voter turnout in the 2020 Brazilian municipal elections. Methods:We use Ordinary Least Squares and Spatial Durbin Error models to evaluate sub-national variation in municipal-level Covid-19 incidence and voter turnout. We include controls for political, economic, health, and state context. Results:Ceteris paribus, increasing deaths in the month leading up to the election from 0.01 to 1 per 1000 people is associated with a 5 percentage point decrease in turnout; higher cases and deaths earlier in the pandemic are generally associated with higher turnout. Covid-19 incidence rates in nearby municipalities affect local turnout in the same directions. Conclusion:Higher Covid-19 incidence near the time of the election decreases voter turnout, while incidence farther from the election increases voter turnout.

published proceedings

  • Social Science Quarterly

altmetric score

  • 2.7

author list (cited authors)

  • Constantino, S. M., Cooperman, A. D., & Moreira, T

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Constantino, Sara M||Cooperman, Alicia D||Moreira, Thiago MQ

publication date

  • September 2021