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Voting Experiences, Perceptions of Fraud, and Voter Confidence

Alvarez, R. Michael and Cao, Jian and Li, Yimeng (2021) Voting Experiences, Perceptions of Fraud, and Voter Confidence. Social Science Quarterly, 102 (4). pp. 1225-1238. ISSN 0038-4941. doi:10.1111/ssqu.12940.

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Objective: Assuring voter confidence is important for the legitimacy of democratic elections. In this article, we test four hypotheses about the correlates of voter confidence at various levels of election administration. Methods: We take advantage of a large online survey of registered voters in a single election jurisdiction, Orange County (CA), which was implemented immediately after the November 2018 midterm elections. We measure voting experience and social media usage using item response theory as well as voters' perceptions of various election or voter fraud, and estimate their association with voter confidence via logistic regression models. Results: Our results show that voters who cast mail ballots are less confident about their own votes being counted correctly than in‐person voters. For both types of voters, those who have poor experiences with the voting process are much less likely to report confidence in the election. We also find that voters who have strong concerns about election fraud are less likely to report being confident in the election. Our last result indicates that information from news and social media is associated with a decline in voter confidence in election administration at the national level. Conclusion: Given the many conversations about election fraud that have occurred since the 2016 presidential election, this research provides important implications for election administration in future elections in the United States.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper Information
Alvarez, R. Michael0000-0002-8113-4451
Li, Yimeng0000-0003-3855-0756
Additional Information:© 2021 by the Southwestern Social Science Association. Issue Online: 06 October 2021; Version of Record online: 26 March 2021. We thank the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation for supporting our research. We also thank the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley and his team, for their assistance in our research.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Randolph and Dora Haynes FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project139
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210401-081645629
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Alvarez, R.M., Cao, J. and Li, Y. (2021), Voting Experiences, Perceptions of Fraud, and Voter Confidence. Social Science Quarterly, 102: 1225-1238.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108598
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Apr 2021 00:57
Last Modified:13 Oct 2021 16:13

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