Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jamie Scalera


Does the presence of female candidates in executive elections increase voter turnout for that election? Does the presence of female chief executives in states increase voter turnout following their tenure? While there is little research surrounding female chief executives and candidates, past research on women in parliament has shown that the increased prevalence of female legislators increases voter turnout rates due to role modeling and socialization. Overall, a more diverse government will feel more democratic and thus more welcoming of participation by both men and women. I theorize that this phenomenon remains true with both female candidates in executive elections and female chief executives. I hypothesize that the presence of both will increase voter turnout for that election where female candidates run and following the tenure of female chief executives. To answer my first question, I conduct a case study on a semi-random sample of thirteen African states. For my second question, I run OLS Times-Series Regression tests on data from 1970 to 2016. With voter turnout being a keystone of democracy, my research could have strong implications for how women are involved in policies aimed at furthering political development and democratization.