Up to the Promise? The Impact of Electronic Voting on Trust in the Election Process in Latin AmericaWorking Paper No.: 89
Date Published: 2009-10-01
R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
Gabriel Katz, California Institute of Technology
Julia Pomares, London School of Economics
Electronic voting has disseminated extensively in the developing world and at a fast speed. In Latin America, 10 out of 18 countries have piloted some type of automated voting. Among the drivers of this technological change is the prospect of new technologies for boosting confidence in the election process in the region. However, more than a decade after its introduction there is no analysis about whether e-voting is up to the promise. Based on voting experiments conducted in Argentina and Colombia, we show that voters are very confident in new technologies. Contrary to evidence on U.S. elections, participants in both experiments were more confident in direct-recording electronic (DRE) technologies than in paper-based optical scanning systems. Moreover, the availability of a paper verifiable audit trail does not increase confidence in the voting process. Finally, in line with previous studies, we find that voters’ age and education shape their opinions about the legitimacy of the e-voting process and that there is a positive association between ease of use and confidence that the vote was registered as intended.