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The Politics of Ballot Design


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. How the ballot 'Nudges' voters; 3. Ballot architecture in the progressive era; 4. The personal vote era, 1940-2000; 5. Ballot architecture in the contemporary partisan era; 6. Reconsidering the American ballot; Bibliography; Index.

Promotional Information

Physical features of ballots vary considerably across the US. This book shows how politicians use ballot design to influence voting.

About the Author

Erik J. Engstrom is Professor of Political Science at University of California, Davis. He is the author or co-author of three books-most recently Race, Class, and Social Welfare: American Populism since the New Deal (2020). He was the co-winner of the 2015 J. David Greenstone Prize for best book in Politics and History from the American Political Science Association. Jason M. Roberts is Professor of Political Science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author or co-author of three books, including The American Congress (2019) and Ambition, Competition, and Electoral Reform (2013).


'Erik Engstrom and Jason Roberts have written the definitive modern study of the politics of ballot design in the United States. Ballot design laws are intensely fought over in state legislatures, and they have consequences for election outcomes. This book deftly combines historical and modern statistical analysis that will be of great interest to both the academic researchers, students of election science, election administrators, and those who influence the laws by which we mark our ballots.' Charles Stewart III, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
'Engstrom and Roberts vividly demonstrate how the design of voting ballots shapes both turnout and voter choice. Particularly compelling are two major contributions: the application of 'nudge' to the understanding of voters' decisions, and how political circumstances lead politicians to redesign ballots to achieve new political goals.' John Aldrich, Duke University

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