Afraid To Vote

Dec 11 2012 @ 4:44pm

Seth Hill, Gregory Huber and Conor Dowling find that some Americans don't vote because they fear their votes will be made public:

[R]ecent research suggests that registrants who have never voted may not have done so because they fear that, if they were to vote, their vote choices would become known to others. Experimental data also show that reassuring those registrants that their votes are private and may be cast free of intimidation increases turnout in midterm elections by about 3.5 percentage points (from 17 to 20.5%). Thus, despite the longstanding institution of the secret ballot, a subset of Americans appear to doubt whether their vote choices are appropriately secret and, when such doubts arise, may therefore be vulnerable to the surprisingly frequent efforts by employers to shape voting choices.