Testimony of Dr. Robert Stein
ELECTION REFORM COMMISSION
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01:51 PM -- Testimony of Dr. Robert Stein
Dr. Robert Stein, Professor of Political Science, Rice University, presented testimony regarding voter experience with differing voting systems and the use of vote centers. Commission members received copies of the slides used in Dr. Stein's presentation (Attachment A). Dr. Stein provided background on the design and implementation of a study conducted in Colorado and elsewhere regarding the use of paper ballots and electronic voting machines.
Dr. Stein continued to discuss the design of the study conducted in Colorado, including questions posed to voters in exit polling. Dr. Stein then explained the results of the study, and provided some interpretation of the data gleaned.
Dr. Stein discussed the conclusions reached in comparing paper and electronic voting systems. Dr. Stein responded to questions regarding the study's response level to a question concerning the need for technical support in using a paper or electronic voting system. Dr. Stein responded to further questions regarding the public's level of confidence in the voting system in Colorado, and follow-up questions regarding the public's satisfaction with vote centers. Discussion ensued regarding the importance of poll workers in instilling confidence in the use of vote centers. Discussion followed regarding certain statistics contained in Attachment A.
Discussion ensued regarding normalizing the data in Dr. Stein's study to make an accurate comparison of the public's perception of paper ballots and electronic voting machines. Dr. Stein responded to questions regarding the reason for the preference for paper ballots in Colorado, and which type of voting is preferred in other parts of the country. Discussion ensued regarding counties in Colorado that provided the option of using either paper or electronic voting systems during the 2008 election, and the preferred voting method in those counties. Discussion followed regarding the use of optical scanners to count paper ballots in certain counties. Dr. Stein commented on the public's preferred voting methods in Colorado, and the impact of familiarity on voting method preference.
Dr. Stein discussed the impact of a decision to use a specific voting method, such as early or mail-in voting, on voter turnout. Dr. Stein responded to questions regarding national trends in voting methods, and an overall preference for early voting. Dr. Stein then discussed the cost of early voting, and the phenomenon of information loss as it relates to early and mail-in voting, especially during primary elections.
Dr. Stein responded to questions regarding public rejection of a lack of choice in the area of early voting. Discussion ensued regarding specific precincts where the opportunity for early voting had been rescinded. Dr. Stein responded to questions regarding the prevalence of early and mail-in voting among the states. Discussion ensued regarding the percentage of early voters in Colorado during the 2008 election. Dr. Stein provided closing remarks regarding the scope of his recent study.
The commission recessed.