Thursday, September 20, 2007

Name Location On November Ballot

The absence of exit-polls and other politically important data in New Milford such as sufficient and accurate demographics makes it very hard to know the signficance of the location of a candidate's name on a ballot. But there are a couple of obvious givens. First, the "primacy effect" described by political science experts as the voter's selection of the first name that appears on the ballot. They explain that this happens because a voter is uniformed, ambivalent or even rushed by the people on line behind him or her. Those same voters may attach significance to the appearance of a name above or below another. For example, in a multi-candidate race like Town Council the voter thinks that Mary Republican is running against Joe Democrat because the latter's name happens to appear right above or below the former. These phenomena can and do have a significant impact on races. Many states, such as California and Ohio, have rules that mandate rotation among voting districts or precincts which I think is a great idea. Other states, such as Florida, require that the Governor's party gets first place on the ballot. I wonder if New Milford could lawfully adopt the rotation system.

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