Jason Roberts, UNC

"The Politics of Ballot Design: How States Shape American Democracy"

Abstract: The goal of this project is to more fully understand the causes and consequences of ballot format changes across a broad swath of American political history.  We contend that ballot laws provide political parties with an institutional solution to electoral uncertainty.  To bolster this claim, we have collected a comprehensive dataset of the timing and form of ballot design changes from 1888 through the present.  These data have allowed us to unpack the forces behind ballot law changes. They have also allowed us to more definitively assess the effects of ballot formats on election outcomes, party competition, and representative behavior in both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.