Original Paper

Political Behavior

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 247-270

Assessing the Impact of Alternative Voting Technologies on Multi-Party Elections: Design Features, Heuristic Processing and Voter Choice

  • Gabriel KatzAffiliated withCalifornia Institute of Technology Email author 
  • , R. Michael AlvarezAffiliated withCalifornia Institute of Technology
  • , Ernesto CalvoAffiliated withUniversity of Houston
  • , Marcelo EscolarAffiliated withUniversidad de Buenos Aires
  • , Julia PomaresAffiliated withLondon School of Economics

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the influence of alternative voting technologies on electoral outcomes in multi-party systems. Using data from a field experiment conducted during the 2005 legislative election in Argentina, we examine the role of information effects associated with alternative voting devices on the support for the competing parties. We find that differences in the type of information displayed and how it was presented across devices favored some parties to the detriment of others. The impact of voting technologies was found to be larger than in two-party systems, and could lead to changes in election results. We conclude that authorities in countries moving to adopt new voting systems should carefully take the potential partisan advantages induced by different technologies into account when evaluating their implementation.

Keywords

Voting technology Multiparty systems Field experiments