Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Female disparity in the political process in the state of Kentucky follows the same distinct pattern of female disparity all across state legislatures in the United States, and in the federal legislative branch. Female representation and parity in the political process is vital to the success of governmental bodies due to the benefits that the female perspective offers to governmental processes. After extensive review of the existing literature, it is clear that there is a gap in the literature when it comes to understanding how the presence of a female candidate effects the total turnout rate, female turnout rate, and male turnout rate. This capstone estimates the effect that an increase in female legislative candidates has on voter turnout. The hypothesis is that an increase in the number of female candidates will be associated with higher turnout. Using data from the Kentucky State Board of Elections (from 2014 to 2018), aggregated data on the number of females present within a state house or senate race in a county, and other independent variables pulled from the United States Census, the author uses a linear regression model to estimate the effects therein. Contrary to the hypothesis, results indicate that there is a statistically significant negative relationship between the number of female candidates and (1) total percent turnout, (2) female voter turnout, and (3) male voter turnout.