The effects of technology, demographic and economic factors on voter error : an analysis of the 2002 and 2006 Florida gubernatorial elections


In a participatory democracy where every vote counts, voters expect that every vote will be counted. The voting machine is the instrument with which the voting public records its intent and appoints its representatives. In order for the democratic process to function, voting machines must properly function. This thesis examines voter error across Florida's 67 counties in the 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial elections in order to analyze and explain the pattern in voter error as represented by undervotes and overvotes across counties of various demographic and socio-economic characteristics, using different electronic voting systems in the 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial elections.

The debate over the accuracy and accountability of touchscreen technology has been prominent for the last several election cycles and in the state of Florida resulted in the banning of use of these technologies. Yet, many counties in the United States still use touchscreen technology. Are touchscreen systems better equipped for reducing voter error? Correlation and Mean comparison analysis suggest that counties that primarily used touchscreen technology on Election Day had lower voter error rates than counties using optical scan technology in the 2006 election. Touchscreen technology was found to eliminate overvoting. Voter turnout was not found to have an effect on voter error rates.

Voter error rates were found to be higher in the 2006 election than in the 2002 election for optical scan ballots but not for touchscreen systems. The question of enfranchisement is central to the democratic debate. If every vote counts, then should not every vote be accurately counted? Analysis has shown that the factors with the strongest and most consistent correlation with voter error rates for the 2004 and 2006 gubernatorial elections are educational level, median household income, county population size, and county population density for counties using optical scan systems. For counties using touchscreen machines the only significant correlation found was a moderately strong, negative relationship between median household income and voter error rate for the 2002 election. The correlation between the two was not significant for the 2006 election cycle.


This item is only available in print in the UCF Libraries. If this is your thesis or dissertation, you can help us make it available online for use by researchers around the world by downloading and filling out the Internet Distribution Consent Agreement. You may also contact the project coordinator Kerri Bottorff for more information.

Thesis Completion





Fine, Terri S.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program

Political Science


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

This document is currently not available here.