Early Voting Matters to Visiting Distinguished Professor in Political Science

Whether you view early voting as a necessity, a privilege, or an obligation, there is no denying that it has had a profound impact on American voting behavior. Dr. Paul Gronke has dedicated his career to studying the impact of early voting.

Gronke currently teaches at Appalachian State University as the Dr. Daniel B. German Professor in Political Science. This endowed Distinguished Professorship was created to enhance teaching and scholarship in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. Gronke has committed to teaching at Appalachian for a year. “I’m impressed with this University, and I find that the faculty work very hard,” Gronke says. “The students here are bright.”

Having studied elections and conducted public opinion research since age 16, Gronke has focused particularly on early voting, and its effects on political campaigns. Additionally, he is the founder and director of the Early Voting Information Center, a non-partisan policy research center dedicated to the study of voting at times other than Election Day and places other than local precincts.

After earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Essex, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Gronke went on to his first teaching position at Duke University. It was there that he developed an appreciation for the mountains of North Carolina. “When my family and I used to come to Boone to get our Christmas trees, we would always talk about what a beautiful town this is,” Gronke says. “I understand why people stay here, I find this area incredibly charming.”

Gronke has been a faculty member at Reed College in Portland, Oregon since 2001, and teaches courses there on political behavior, political institutions, and social science research methods. He also served as the chair of the Political Science Department at Reed from 2001 to 2009.

During his time at Appalachian, Gronke hopes to complete a book on early voting, and expand his research internationally. “Other countries have much bigger issues at stake, and they face much greater challenges than we do in the United States,” Gronke says. “We can set an example and teach these countries something through our voting processes.”

Gronke hopes that his time here will help promote the Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Government and Justice Studies. “I’d love to be an ambassador for this program and communicate to my colleagues what a wonderful place this is,” Gronke says. “I’ve been very happy here.”

To learn more about the Early Voting Information Center and Paul Gronke’s research, please visit earlyvoting.net.

Published: Nov 20, 2014 12:00am