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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: October 2014

5 - Voter Confidence in 2010



Since the election controversies of 2000, scholars of American politics have invested research time and effort into the study of election administration and election performance. These include studies on residual vote analysis (Ansolabehere and Stewart, 2005; Mebane, 2004; Wand et al., 2001), election auditing (Alvarez, Atkeson and Hall 2012; Atkeson et al., 2008), the role of poll workers (Alvarez and Hall, 2006; Atkeson, Alvarez, and Hall., 2009b; Claassen et al., 2008; Hall, Monson, and Patterson, 2009), the role of technology (Alvarez and Hall, 2004; Kimball and Kropf, 2005, 2008; Knack and Kropf, 2003b; Stein et al., 2008; Tomz and Van Howling, 2003), provisional votes (Alvarez and Hall, 2009; Atkeson, Alvarez, and Hall, 2009a; Kimball and Foley, 2009; Kimball, Kropf, and Battles, 2006; Pitts and Neumann, 2009), voter identification (Ansolabehere, 2009; Atkeson, et al., 2010; Cobb, et al., 2012; Pitts and Neumann, 2009), and voter confidence (Alvarez, Hall, and Llewellyn, 2008a; Atkeson and Saunders, 2007; Bullock, Hood, and Clark, 2005; Claassen et al., 2008; Murphy, Johnson, and Bowler, 2011), among others. These studies have been in direct response to the presidential election meltdown in 2000, which for the public focused largely on Florida, but was also seen in other states, especially those where the race was very close, including New Mexico and Ohio (Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, 2001). This work has been highly productive, creating new linkages between political scientists, local election officials, and legal professionals to create a data-driven approach to election reform and a push to improve and modernize the local election systems across the nation (Alvarez et al., 2009; Atkeson, Alvarez, and Hall 2010; Atkeson et al., 2011; Gerken, 2009; Liebshutz and Palazzolo, 2005).

Understanding the factors that contribute to voter confidence is an important component of the election performance literature. The interest in voter confidence stems from very visible problems in the election process observed since 2000 (Atkeson et al., 2010; Hall et al., 2009; Sinclair and Alvarez, 2004; Tomz and Van Houweling, 2003; Wand et al., 2001), attention by the mass media to the possibility that voting machines may not be counting the votes correctly, weak computer security in many systems that allows for break-ins (Kohno et al., 2004), the specter of voter fraud by citizens (Griffin and Johnston, 2008), and procedural manipulations by election officials to potentially change turnout (Kennedy, 2006; Koppelman, 2010).