Original Article

Examining Pediatric Residency Voting Practices

Authors: Cassi Smola, MD, Nipam Shah, MBBS, MPH, Kathy Monroe, MD


Objective: Voting is one of our civic duties, yet many Americans do not vote, and physician voter participation is even lower than that of the general public. We aimed to explore pediatric residents’ attitudes and behaviors in regard to voting and assess the impact of interventions aimed at increasing resident participation.

Methods: Pediatric residents were given preelection surveys regarding interest in voting, plans to vote in the November 2016 national election, and barriers to participation. Voting registration, election dates, and registration deadlines were disseminated before the election. Postelection surveys were distributed after the 2016 national election to pediatric residents regarding their voter participation, barriers to voting, and the effectiveness of our interventions.

Results: Fifty-one residents completed the presurvey and 49 completed the postsurvey (61% and 59% of total residents, respectively). Eighty-nine percent of residents surveyed planned to vote and 83% were registered to vote. The postsurveys indicated that only 69% of responding residents voted in the national election, far fewer than the 89% who planned to vote (z = 2.5, P < 0.05). The most common reasons for not voting were “no time off,” “didn’t get absentee ballot,” and “not registered in state of residence.” In total, 19 of 33 (58%) respondents indicated that interventions encouraged them to vote.

Conclusions: Intention to vote among participants was higher than voting participation; however, participants in this study voted at higher rates (69%) than the average citizen rates (61.4%). More than half of the residents who did vote indicated that the study interventions encouraged them to vote.

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