During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American elections underwent a series of reforms that weakened partisan control over elections. The variation in the electoral rules during this period offers scholars a unique opportunity to examine how electoral institutions and reforms structure election outcomes. In this article, I examine how electoral rules translated voter preferences into outcomes for the selection of two prominent positions, governors and U.S. senators. These two elected positions offer an interesting comparison because while they are chosen to represent the same geographic constituency, there is notable variation in the rules used to elect each office. Based on analysis of more than 350 senate-gubernatorial election pairs, I find that varying levels of partisan control over elections throughout time conditioned the likelihood that the partisan outcome of these elections mirrors one another.
- electoral reforms
- institutional development