Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 2

Attitudes toward Voting Technology, 2012–2019

Charles Stewart III, Department of Political Science, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, , James Dunham, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Charles Stewart III and James Dunham (2020), "Attitudes toward Voting Technology, 2012–2019", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 2, pp 159-187.

Publication Date: 11 Jun 2020
© 2020 C. Stewart III and J. Dunham
Voting,  Elections,  Electoral institutions,  Public administration
Electionsvoting machineselection security


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In this article:
Data and Measurement 
Attitudes and Technology Usage 
Attitudes, Politics, and Demographics 
Conclusion and Discussion 


The use of computers to record and tabulate votes has been increasingly controversial since the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002. This paper traces that controversy, exploring whether the elite debate about technology has affected popular attitudes. The empirical focus here is public opinion about voting technologies from 2012 to 2019. We find a consistent status-quo bias in attitudes about computer equipment — users of direct-recording electronic devices (DREs) tend to favor DREs and users of opscans tend to favor opscans. On top of this bias, DREs have tended to be regarded as superior to both opscans and hand-counted paper over the time covered in the paper, although this advantage has recently declined. The decline in the relative preference for DREs had been greatest among survey respondents who pay the greatest attention to news and public affairs.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 2 Special issue - Election Administration and Technology
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.