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2014 Colorado Election Survey Robert M. Stein Andrew Menger Rice University and Greg Vonnahme University of Missouri-Kansas City Prepared for presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "2014 Colorado Election Survey Robert M. Stein Andrew Menger Rice University and Greg Vonnahme University of Missouri-Kansas City Prepared for presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 2014 Colorado Election Survey Robert M. Stein Andrew Menger Rice University and Greg Vonnahme University of Missouri-Kansas City Prepared for presentation at the Meetings of the Colorado County Clerks Association, January 20-22, 2014, Pueblo, Colorado. Support for this research was provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts

2 Research Questions What was the experience of the 2014 Colorado voter with vote by mail? What proportion of 2014 Colorado voters received a ballot in the mail? When, where and how did 2014 Colorado voters cast and return their ballots? What proportion of 2014 Colorado voters took advantage of the features of vote by mail? How confident were 2014 Colorado voters that the U.S. postal service would deliver their mail ballot securely and in a timely manner?

3 Survey Design Three waves of telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of registered voters beginning October 23 and ending November 10 for a total 1,560 completed interviews. Interviews were conducted with voters who received a mail ballot and voters who registered on or 21 before days Election Day. Response rate for the entire survey was 35%

4 Receipt of mailed ballots 92% of survey respondents reported receiving a ballot by mail before the November, 2014 election. 77% of those who reported not receiving a ballot in the mail reported updating their registration or registering for the first time in Only 1.7% of our sample of voters reported not receiving a ballot in the mail and being registered to vote throughout 2014.

5 How satisfied are you with your overall voting experience in 2014?

6 When and where voters balloted 8.2% of survey respondents completed their ballots in person at a polling place. – Why? 81% of persons who reported not receiving a ballot in the mail completed their ballots in person at a polling place. 79% of persons who reported not receiving a ballot in the mail also reported registering to vote in % Voters who reported voting in person at a polling place prefer voting with other people; 24% of persons who balloted by mail prefer to vote with others. 73% of in-person voters don’t mind waiting in line to vote, only 45% of mail ballot voters expressed the same preference.

7 Returning ballots Among voters who received a ballot in the mail only 36% reported returning their ballot by mail, 64% reported returning their ballot in-person. Why? – Do not trust the U.S. Postal Service. – Uncertain their vote will be counted accurately. – Do not value the advantages/conveniences of vote by mail.

8 Voter satisfaction by method of returning the ballot MailIn-Person Very Satisfied58%59% Satisfied37% Dissatisfied3% Very Dissatisfied1%2%

9 Taking advantage of the convenience of voting by mail 85% of all voters filled out their ballot in one day. 79% of all voters completed their ballot alone. 58% of all voters consulted other sources of information when completing their ballot – 32% internet – 7% campaign literature – 42% voter guide

10 Percent of persons who returned their ballot by mail by level of confidence * in the Postal Service *Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the statement: I trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail ballots securely and on time

11 Percent of persons who returned their ballot by mail by level of confidence that their vote will be counted as intended

12 Mean attitude score on positive attributes of vote by mail 1 by method of returning ballot * P <.05

13 Correlates of ballots returned by mail Received a ballot in the mail Trust the postal service to deliver mails ballots securely and on time Trust that their ballot will be counted they intended Prefer campaigning to end before voting Rent rather than own their residence Voted in the 2014 primary election

14 Correlates of ballots returned in-person Hispanic Male Prefer not to change their daily routine to vote Contacted by a campaign after receiving a mail ballot

15 Conclusions An overwhelming majority of voters were satisfied (37%) or very satisfied (59%) with their overall voting experience. Voters expected (88%) and received (92%) a ballot mailed to their residence before Election Day. Contrary to expectations, 67% of all voters and 64% of voters who received a ballot in the mail chose to return their completed ballot in-person at a voter service center or drop-off location. Voter satisfaction with their overall voting experience in 2014 does not vary by how the voter chose to return their ballot, i.e., by mail or in-person. A larger number of voters did not avail themselves of several expected advantages/conveniences of voting by mail including: – Taking multiple days to complete their ballot (16%) – Voting with and in consultation with others (21%) – Consulting information while completing the ballot e.g. internet (58%)

16 Conclusions, continued Reducing the proportion of votes returned in- person might increase the cost savings from vote by mail. Election officials may be able to accelerate this process by providing more information to the voters on how mailed votes are kept secret and giving statistics on how quickly and accurately ballots go from the hands of the voter to the county through the postal system.

17 Going forward Cost analysis of vote by mail (April-May) County level analysis of performance (June) Increasing ballots returned by mail – Proposed experiments for 2015 – Informational mail inserts US. Post Service performance Spoiled ballot counts Early returns by mail cost saving


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