Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Roll-off at the top of the ballot: intentional undervoting in American presidential elections

Knack, Stephen and Kropf, Martha (2003): Roll-off at the top of the ballot: intentional undervoting in American presidential elections. Published in: Politics and Policy , Vol. 31, No. 4 (December 2003): pp. 575-594.

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Abstract

Every four years, more than 2% of voters fail to cast a valid vote in the U.S. presidential contest. The 2000 election highlighted the fact that many intended votes are voided because of voter confusion associated with complicated ballot designs or voting equipment. Using survey data, this study provides estimates of the proportion of voided presidential ballots that do not represent errors but rather intentional undervotes. Voters who are older, poorer, and who do not identify with either major party are more likely to intentionally refrain from casting a presidential vote. African American-white differences are very minor, implying that racial disparities in the rate of voided votes cannot be attributed to a stronger tendency among African American voters to intentionally skip the presidential contest.

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