Do Voters and Poll Workers Differ in their Attitudes Toward e-voting? Evidence from the first e-election in Salta, Argentina

Julia Pomares, Center for the Implementation of Public Promoting Equity and Growth
Ines Levin, University of Georgia
R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
Journal of Election Technology and Systems

We provide an analysis of voter and poll worker perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of a new e-voting system vis–à–vis traditional ballot-and-envelope voting in the 2011 election in Salta, Argentina. The results of this comparison provide new insights into how poll workers perceive the implementation of new voting technologies and show that both points of view need to be taken into account when assessing new election technology. We found that speed is perceived to be the most important advantage of e-voting; and more so for poll workers than for voters. This is not surprising since speed is an aspect of a voting technology that directly affects the workflow of poll workers. We also found that poll workers expressed more intensely negative attitudes towards e-voting than voters, especially in relation to difficulty of use and lack of training. Finally, we found that both voters and poll workers placed more importance on usability than confidence issues. This is an unexpected finding since election authorities have identified confidence in the integrity of the election process as the main trigger of the adoption of the new voting technology. Analyses like the one conducted in this paper should be an integral component of the evaluation of the implementation of new voting technologies and introduction of important procedural changes.

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