Voter Confidence and the Election-Day Voting Experience
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The scholarly literature provides mixed guidance on the question of whether DREs or optical scan systems inspire greater confidence. We bring new evidence to bear on the debate using a unique exit poll and a nationally representative survey, both of which examine a wide range of voting experiences. Having detailed information about voting experiences enables us to investigate both the direct effects of DRE/optical scan voting and the indirect effects through voting experiences. Doing so reveals new information about the relationships between voting technology, voting experiences, and voter confidence. Indeed, the type of machine one uses has very different direct and indirect effects on voter confidence—a finding that may help explain scholarly disagreement over voters’ reactions to different types of voting machines.
KeywordsVoting Confidence Voting machine DRE Optical scan
This material is based upon work supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the JEHT Foundation, and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0627880. Exit polls require an immense amount of support from individuals and institutions. Thad Hall collaborated on the development of the survey instruments and the research design. Baxter Oliphant, Nisha Riggs, Dustin Slade, Steven Snell, and research assistants at the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at BYU provided valuable research assistance. Howard B. Christensen, Paul Fields, and Dan Williams of the Department of Statistics at Brigham Young University collaborated with us on the sampling design and Dan Williams constructed the sampling weights. John Green, Karl Kaltenthaler, Daniel Coffey, David Cohen, and Steven Brooks at the University of Akron and Rick Robyn at Kent State University collaborated with us on the Summit County data collection. Stephen Mockabee at the University of Cincinnati and Anand Sokhey at Ohio State University collaborated with us on the Franklin County data collection. We also thank Paul Herrnson at the University of Maryland and Richard Niemi at the University of Rochester for sharing data modules from the CCES and for providing helpful feedback on this project. We also thank the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for their helpful comments. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Carnegie Corporation of New York, the JEHT Foundation, the National Science Foundation, or others who assisted us.
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