Assessing the Usability of the Straight-Party Voting Ballot Option for Paper, Punch Card, and Electronic Voting Systems
Byrne, Michael D.
Master of Arts
The straight-party voting ballot option (SPVBO) is a voting provision available to a sizable minority of United States voters-approximately 71 million voters across 16 U.S. states. In recent years, researchers have begun to doubt the efficacy of the SPVBO while current research on the usability of the SPVBO is largely anecdotal with little empirical support. From a usability perspective, the SPVBO should be a means of increasing both voting efficiency and voting effectiveness via a reduction in the overall number of task elements require to complete a ballot. An empirical mock election research experiment was conducted to test the usability of the SPVBO using realistic voting equipment and procedures. Results from this experiment suggest that using the SPVBO may have little impact on voting system efficiency or satisfaction and that, in certain circumstances, using the SPVBO may have profound negative effects on voting error rates.
Psychology; Political Science