Assessing Voters' Attitudes Towards Electronic Voting in Latin America: Evidence from Colombia's 2007 E-Voting PilotWorking Paper No.: 92
Date Published: 2009-10-01
R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
Gabriel Katz, California Institute of Technology
Ricardo Llamosa, Universidad Industrial de Santander
Hugo E. Martinez, Universidad Industrial de Santander
Electronic voting could increase citizens’ electoral participation and trust in countries characterized by fragile democratic institutions and public discredit of the political system such as those in Latin America. This paper examines attitudes towards e-voting among participants in a large scale pilot project conducted in Colombia in 2007, focusing on the perceived reliability and usability of different automated voting technologies. Using a multivariate probit model, we determine the effect of socio-demographic, geographic and technical factors on users’ evaluations of electronic voting vis a vis the traditional paper ballot system. Our results show that users find e-voting not only easier than the current voting system, but also substantially more reliable. While voters’ opinions on usability are driven by technical issues, their trust in the new technologies is strongly affected by individual characteristics. We conclude that e-voting entails a promising opportunity to empower voters and increase confidence in elections in Colombia.