Voting technology and the election experience:The 2009 gubernatorial races in new jersey and virginia
In this paper, we examine the attitudes of voters regarding the voting experience in the 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia. We focus especially on the way in which voting technology experiences that voters have had affect their confidence in the voting process, their attitudes toward fraud and reform, and other aspects of the voting process. We find that voters are sensitive to the voting mode they use-in person voting compared to absentee voting-as well as to whether they get to vote on the technology they prefer (paper versus electronic). Finally, the privacy that voters feel in the voting process is also important in shaping the voter's confidence. 19 In the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election in the United States, groups like the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP) began studying the voting technology and the process of voting in American elections [VTP 2001].1 Many of the early studies like the work of the VTP, though, focused either on survey data collected for other purposes (like the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey) or on the analysis of aggregated election returns [Al09]. These studies, while important, were unable to study in detail the voting experience --- and they were unable to relate the voting experience directly to the technology used by the voter to cast his or her ballot. However, in recent years, the situation has changed, as detailed survey data on the voting experience has begun to be collected in earnest. In the 2007 gubernatorial elections in three states, in the Super Tuesday presidential primary races in 12 states, and then in the 2008 presidential election, the VTP conducted surveys in the appropriate states to determine the quality of the voting process across all modes of voting-early voting, absentee voting, and election day voting. The goal of these studies was to determine the way in which voters experienced the election process. In this paper, we use data from the most recent study by the VTP of voting experiences in New Jersey and Virginia in each state's 2009 gubernatorial elections. These studies built, in part, on earlier work designed to study the voting process as experienced by the voter. Scholars have studied the confidence of voters in the voting process [AH08; AHL08, AHL2009; AS05; BHC05], experience voters have had with their poll workers [HMP09; Ha09], and combinations of these experiences [AAH07; CMMP08]. However, most of these studies have been statespecific studies and many have focused on Election Day voting experiences, not considering the fastest growing part of the voting experience. These studies have also all focused on federal elections. In this study, we consider a different type of American election, the off-year gubernatorial election. Five states have off-year gubernatorial elections; Virginia and New Jersey are on one cycle (e.g., 2009, 2005, 2001) and Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are on a different cycle (e.g., 2007, 2003, 1999). Our data analysis allows us to consider voter confidence in this slightly different context. In this study, we also specifically focus on how voters' experiences were affected by the voting technology they used to cast their ballots and the voting technology - paper or electronic - that is their preference.
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