American Government and Politics

Voting Experiences, Perceptions of Fraud, and Voter Confidence

R. Michael Alvarez California Institute of Technology
Jian Cao California Institute of Technology
Yimeng Li California Institute of Technology


Assuring voter confidence is important for the legitimacy of democratic elections. In this paper we take advantage of a large online survey of registered voters in a single election jurisdiction, Orange County (CA), that was implemented immediately after the November 2018 midterm elections, to test four hypotheses about the correlates of voter confidence. Voters who cast mail ballots are less confident about their own votes being counted correctly than in-person voters. For both types of voters, those who have poor experiences with the voting process are much less likely to report confidence in the election. Also voters who have strong concerns about election fraud are less likely to report being confident in the election. Our last result indicates that information from news and social media is associated with a decline in voter confidence in election administration at the national level.


Thumbnail image of OC_Survey___Voter_Confidence_Paper__SSQ_Final_.pdf


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