Although a growing number of countries have implemented electronic voting, few scholars have considered the unintended consequences of such reforms. We argue that changes in ballot structure imposed by electronic voting, implemented under the exact same electoral rules, can facilitate ballot splitting. Exploiting data from three elections and a novel ballot reform in Salta, Argentina - electronic voting was incrementally introduced over multiple elections - we provide an empirical analysis of how ballot structure influences ballot splitting. We use the Geographic Information System to reconstruct precinct demographics and matching to address threats to random assignment. This empirical strategy allows us to treat our data as a quasi-experiment. We find that precincts casting electronic ballots under an Australian ballot, rather than the ballot-and-envelope system, have significantly higher rates of ballot splitting. Our findings imply that less complicated voting procedures can affect the composition of legislative representation and manufacture a more inclusive legislature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science