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Straight-Party Voting: What Do Voters Think?

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2 Author(s)
Bryan A. Campbell ; Psychol. Dept., Rice Univ., Houston, TX, USA ; Michael D. Byrne

One of the options available to a sizable minority of U.S. voters is the ability to, with a single action, cast votes in multiple races; this is termed straight-party voting (SPV). SPV is implemented inconsistently across the U.S. and this may result in voter confusion, threatening the integrity of elections. We presented survey respondents with multiple SPV scenarios, testing both their understanding of SPV-marked ballots and their likelihood of using SPV to make multiple selections on a ballot. Participants were also asked their opinions on how SPV ought to work. Voters had significant difficulty in interpreting SPV ballots and were reluctant to generate them, though this was improved when ballots had more clear and detailed instructions. Participants also tended to believe that SPV should not work the way they believed it had worked on ballots they had previously seen. Overall, our results suggest that SPV is a likely cause of voter confusion, suggesting further research on the usability of straight-party voting systems.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )