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Voting Made Safe and Easy: The Impact of e-voting on Citizen Perceptions*

  • R. Michael Alvarez (a1), Ines Levin (a2), Julia Pomares (a3) and Marcelo Leiras (a4)
Abstract

Voting technologies frame the voting experience. Different ways of presenting information to voters, registering voter choices and counting ballots may change the voting experience and cause individuals to re-evaluate the legitimacy of the electoral process. Yet few field experiments have evaluated how voting technologies affect the voting experience. This article uses unique data from a recent e-voting field experiment in Salta, Argentina to study these questions. It employs propensity-score matching methods to measure the causal effect of replacing traditional voting technology with e-voting on the voting experience. The study's main finding is that while e-voters perceive the new technology as easier to use and more likely to register votes as intended—and support replacing traditional voting technologies with e-voting—the new technologies also raise some concerns about ballot secrecy.

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R. Michael Alvarez is Professor of Political Science, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., MC 228-77, Pasadena, CA 91125 (rma@hss.caltech.edu). Ines Levin is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, 104 Baldwin Hall, Athens, Georgia, 30602 (ilevin@uga.edu). Julia Pomares is Director of the Politics and Public Management Program, Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth, Av. Callao 25, 1° C1022AAA, Buenos Aires, Argentina (jpomares@cippec.org). Marcelo Leiras is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Political Science and International Relations, Universidad de San Andrés, Vito Dumas 284 (1644) Victoria, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina (mleiras@udesa.edu.ar). Online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2013.2.

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Political Science Research and Methods
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