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Deliberating While Voting: The Antecedents, Dynamics, And Consequences Of Talking While Completing Ballots In Two Vote-By-Mail States

The study, Deliberating While Voting: The Antecedents, Dynamics, And Consequences Of Talking While Completing Ballots In Two Vote-By-Mail States (2015), by Justin Reedy and John Gastil was published in Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. The paper explores how the deliberative process occurs for citizens who voted by mail in Oregon and Washington, and how this influenced the way voters felt about the process itself.

From the Abstract

An overlooked context for citizen deliberation occurs when voters discuss their ballots with others while completing them at home. Voting by mail (or “absentee voting”) creates an opportunity for informal deliberation in the midst of exercising a basic form of citizen power. We examined this understudied context by blending prior theory with qualitative observations of dyadic and small-group absentee voter discussions to identify common features of such talk, which range from cynical joking and speculation on election outcomes to observing norms of politeness and engaging in heated argument. The hypothesized antecedents and consequences of those behaviors were examined in a survey of 295 Washington and Oregon voters’ recollections of their ballot discussions. Results showed that pro-deliberative features of discussion were reported most often by voters with more formal education and political knowledge. Contrary to hypotheses, the strength of voters’ partisan identities bore no relation to deliberative behavior. Finally, the presence of key discussion features had many of the expected effects on voters’ confidence in ballot choices and their respect for the electoral process, particularly for those voters with less political knowledge.

Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.

About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Journal of Public DeliberationSpearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.

Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem

Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA

Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/art6/

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