It was immediately clear after the Nov. 6 election that far more voters than expected were leaving the Senate box blank. Many of those voters supported other Democrats, like the losing candidate for Governor, Andrew Gillum.
In a new academic paper presented Thursday at the Election Sciences, Reform, & Administration Conference, two researchers looked beyond vote totals, drilling down to the individual ballot level.
What they found was this: In Broward County, voters who skipped the Senate race likely did so by accident, rather than purposely avoiding the race….’The academic paper’s authors, Marc Meredith at the University of Pennsylvania and Michael Morse at Harvard University, looked at individual “undervoters” — people who voted, but not for senator.
According to the research, “about 33 percent of Senate undervoters in other counties also voted for a third-party or undervoted in the gubernatorial race, consistent with a pattern of more intentional undervoting.”
But that wasn’t the case in Broward. There, “only about 7 percent of Broward voters who undervoted in the Senate race also voted for a third-party or undervoted again in the gubernatorial race.” That indicates they skipped the race unintentionally.
But there’s no definitive evidence that the quirk mattered enough to flip the race.