The Quality of Vote Tallies: Causes and Consequences

62 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2019

See all articles by Cristian Challú

Cristian Challú

ITAM

Enrique Seira

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Centro de Investigacion Economica

Alberto Simpser

ITAM

Date Written: February 1, 2019

Abstract

The credibility of election outcomes hinges on the accuracy of vote tallies. We provide causal evidence on the drivers and the downstream consequences of variation in the quality of vote tallies. Using data for the universe of polling stations in Mexico in five national elections, we document that over 40 percent of polling-station-level tallies display inconsistencies. Our evidence strongly suggests these inconsistencies are non-partisan. Using an original survey of 80,000 poll workers together with detailed administrative data, we find that inconsistencies cause recounts and lower trust in electoral institutions. Finally, using data for more than 1.5 million poll workers we show that lower educational attainment, higher workload, and higher complexity of the tally cause more inconsistencies. We discuss policy implications of our findings.

Keywords: elections, vote counting, vote tallies, mistakes, recounts, democracy

JEL Classification: H10, H40, H80, K40

Suggested Citation

Challú, Cristian and Seira, Enrique and Simpser, Alberto, The Quality of Vote Tallies: Causes and Consequences (February 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3426568 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3426568

Cristian Challú

ITAM ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 01000, Federal District 01080
Mexico

Enrique Seira

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Centro de Investigacion Economica ( email )

Av. Camino a Santa Teresa #930
Col. Heroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 10370
Mexico

Alberto Simpser (Contact Author)

ITAM ( email )

Rio Hondo 1
Mexico City, CDMX 01080
Mexico
+525556284000 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.albertosimpser.com

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