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Report of Findings: Use of Language in Ballot Instructions



Janice G. Redish, Dana Chisnell, Ethan Newby, Sharon J. Laskowski, Svetlana Z. Lowry


In this study, we compared two ballots that differed only in wording and presentation of the language on the ballots. For Ballot A, we used conventional wording and presentation, taken from typical ballots. For Ballot B, we used plain language wording and presentation.In a study of 45 voters in three geographic locations, we compared a ballot with traditional language instructions to a ballot with plain language instructions, we took both performance and preference data. Participants voted more accurately on the ballot with plain language instructions.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7556
Report Number


Plain Language, Voter Performance, Ballot Instructions, Usability.
Created May 6, 2009, Updated June 20, 2017