New ELJ Article: “Voter Perceptions of Secrecy in the 2020 Election”

Here’s the abstract of the article by Lonna Rae Atkeson, Eli McKown-Dawson, M.V. Hood, and Robert Stein, finding that Republicans are more concerned about the secrecy of their ballots since 2020:

Modern democracies pride themselves on enacting and implementing laws and procedures to ensure ballot secrecy. Notwithstanding these efforts, Gerber et al. (2013) show in 2008 and 2010 that a substantial portion of the electorate does not believe their ballot is secret, and a majority of voters freely share their vote choices with others. We demonstrate that similar dimensions of ballot secrecy exist across time. Although levels of psychological and social secrecy remain generally comparable from 2008 to 2020, our findings do diverge from Gerber et al. (2012) in terms of which groups are more likely to exhibit higher levels of insecurity as related to ballot secrecy. Chief among these is the partisan divisions that came to the forefront in the 2020 election, with Republicans and Democrats now significantly different in regard to their levels of psychological and social secrecy. More specifically, we find 2020 voters, especially Republicans, have grown even more insecure about the secrecy of their ballot and less inquisitive about others’ vote choices. Our findings also demonstrate that voters who are in the political minority at the local level are less confident about the secrecy of their ballot, compared with those whose vote choices match the political majority.

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