Individual Votes: A Preference Voting Experiment
The previous two chapters focused on ballot measures’ language, topic and ease, and how the ballot itself influences participation in elections. However, these chapters do not address the issues of how voters participate in these elections. This chapter aims to explore individual vote choice and the role it plays in voter participation. Although this book has demonstrated that the ballot affects rolloff, what role does the ballot play in translating citizens’ preferences into votes? Citizen votes on Election Day on ballot measures play an important part in not only deciding policy choices but also providing a voice for the people. This chapter provides another methodological approach to the question of ballot measure participation by using an experiment to determine whether voters are able to vote their preferences when confronted with measures of different ballot language complexity and topics. Further, this chapter takes comprehension one step further to include an examination of political knowledge and its ability to influence participation and, more accurately, voters’ ability to vote their preference.