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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)

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 ( Ines Levin is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, 104 Baldwin Hall, Athens, Georgia, 30602 ( 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 ( 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 ( Online appendices are available at

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Michael Alvarez , Thad E. Hall Morgan H. Llewellyn . 2008. ‘Are Americans Confident their Ballots are Counted?’ Journal of Politics 70(3):754766.

R. Michael Alvarez , Gabriel Katz Julia Pomares . 2011. ‘The Impact of New Technologies on Voter Confidence in Latin America: Evidence from E-Voting Experiments in Argentina and Colombia’. Journal of Information Technology & Politics 8(2):199217.

Sarah Birch Bob Watt . 2004. ‘Remote Electronic Voting: Free, Fair and Secret?’ Political Quarterly 75(1):6072.

Ernesto Calvo , Marcelo Escolar Julia Pomares . 2009. ‘Ballot Design and Split-Ticket Voting in Multiparty Systems: Experimental Evidence on Information Effects and Vote Choice’. Electoral Studies 28(2):218231.

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Gabriel R. Katz , Michael Alvarez , Ernesto Calvo , Marcelo Escolar Julia Pomares . 2011. ‘Assessing the Impact of Alternative Voting Technologies on Multi-Party Elections: Design Features, Heuristic Processing and Voter Choice’. Political Behavior 33(2):247270.

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Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
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