Elections study: Voters like fresh faces at polling places

Oct 28, 2008

A new study shows counties can boost voters' trust in elections by making an investment in the human side of elections by recruiting new poll workers.

The findings come from a study by Kent State University's Ryan L. Claassen, who collaborated with Brigham Young University researchers Quin Monson, Kelly Patterson and David Magleby, to conduct exit polling following the 2006 midterm election in Ohio's Franklin and Summit counties.

The research team used exit polling to assess voters' reaction to service at voting locations. The study's authors focused on voters' reaction to poll workers since voters' reaction to poll workers has been shown to be related to voters' confidence that their vote will be counted accurately.

Voters gave higher marks to precincts staffed by new poll workers recruited from local schools and businesses to take a day off and be "street-level bureaucrats" on Election Day, according to the study published by American Politics Research.

"The perceived quality of poll workers matters a great deal, and will particularly be important this November where many voting locations are expected to be crowded," says Claassen, Kent State assistant professor of political science. "With better service comes more trust and confidence – and trust and confidence are important because when voters lack confidence they have no incentive to participate."

In Ohio's Franklin County, local employers, unions and teachers were asked to recruit employees and students to serve as poll workers on Election Day. A concentrated effort was made to enlist younger poll workers who might be more comfortable with new voting technology.

In the Kent State-Brigham Young study, sponsored by Brigham Young's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, both poll workers and voters completed evaluations about their experiences. An analysis of voter evaluations shows voters gave a more positive evaluation to polling places with the new recruits. Further, voters' evaluations matched poll workers' confidence in their training.

Source: Kent State University

Explore further: Soup can reopens mystery of doomed Franklin Expedition

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Supreme Court to decide the fate of same-sex marriage

Mar 14, 2013

The Supreme Court will hear arguments later this month in two separate cases that could pave the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriages, while also overturning state restrictions that deny same-sex ...

US poverty on track to reach highest since 1960s

Jul 23, 2012

(AP) — The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety ...

Questions linger in US on high-tech voting

Mar 11, 2012

A series of problems with electronic voting machines has raised fresh questions about election technology as newer computerized systems gain ground for the 2012 US election.

Recommended for you

Replica of 18th century ship tests French waters

Sep 07, 2014

Cheered by tens of thousands, a life-size replica of the Hermione, the French navy frigate that shipped General Lafayette to America to rally rebels fighting British troops in the US war of independence, began its maiden ...

User comments : 0