Presenters: Ben Roberts, Gregory Houston, Derek Davids and Gilbert Fokou, Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD), HSRC
International research on the design of ballot papers used in elections have often detected a bias on top placement – i.e. when a political party is placed first on the list then voters are more likely to select it. However, the significant volume of research in this area has led to the conclusion that this bias is not limited to top placement, and voters can be biased for and against parties because they are placed in the middle or at the end of the list. Such research also demonstrates that position on the ballot paper matters in some electoral conditions, and not in others. In this seminar, a research team of the Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research programme examine the results of the 2009, 2014 and 2019 national elections to determine the impact of position on the ballot paper on voting behaviour in South Africa. This research has implications for the design of ballot papers as well as the freeness and fairness of elections.
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