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Ballot Information and Voting Decisions in Judicial Elections

David Klein and Lawrence Baum
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 54, No. 4 (Dec., 2001), pp. 709-728
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
DOI: 10.2307/449231
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/449231
Page Count: 20
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Ballot Information and Voting Decisions in Judicial Elections
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Abstract

Ballots used in the American states differ in the information that they provide about candidates. This article examines the effects of ballot information on voters' decisions whether and how to vote in individual contests, effects on which scholars have not yet provided direct evidence. The study employs experimental manipulations within pre-election and post-election surveys on three contests for seats on a state supreme court. Ballot information on candidates' incumbency status and city of residence had little impact on voters' decisions. In contrast, information on candidates' party affiliations had substantial and interconnected effects on participation and choice. These findings illuminate voter decision-making in low-information contests, and they demonstrate that the choice between partisan and nonpartisan ballots in judicial elections is indeed consequential.

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