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Making Ballot Language Understandable to Voters


Sharon J. Laskowski, Janice G. Redish


The wording and placement of instructions can help or hinder voters from successfully voting for their choices. No research has been done specifically on the language of instructions to voters, but we can draw best practices from research in several related disciplines. A recent study by the authors shows that typical ballots in the United States violate many of the best practices drawn from research. In this paper, we discuss and offer examples of the gap between best practices in giving instructions and the instructions that many voters see as they try to vote. We discuss the research on which we draw for these best practices and the need to study the applicability of this research in the specific context of voting instructions.
Conference Dates
August 1, 2006
Conference Title
2006 USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop (EVT ?06)


ballot instructions, ballots, HAVA, usability, voting systems


Laskowski, S. and Redish, J. (1970), Making Ballot Language Understandable to Voters, 2006 USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop (EVT ?06) (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created August 26, 2016, Updated January 27, 2020