Deal or No Deal: Voting on Multiple Provision Ballot Measures


Ballot measures provide a unique instance of direct democracy in which voters have a say in a state’s legislative process. However, voters vary in how they understand and evaluate these measures, many of which can be relatively complicated and comprised of multiple provisions. Are voters deliberate legislators, or do they instead rely on heuristics to guide their final decision? When multiple provisions exist, how do voters weigh their varying support in their calculus of overall support for the measure? To examine these questions, we conduct a novel survey utilizing three real ballot measures under consideration during the 2022 Missouri midterm election cycle. By experimentally assigning how we ask respondents for their support of a given ballot, we garner insight into how voters approach voting on ballots and their greater decision-making process. We find evidence of a negativity bias, which is strongest on the most complex and least polarized issue

Lucas D. Boschelli
Lucas D. Boschelli
Ph.D. Candidate

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.