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Electoral Commission

A Questionnaire Development & Testing case study

Polling station

In 2014, the Questionnaire Development & Testing (QDT) team conducted a piece of research on behalf of the Electoral Commission to investigate how voters interact with party identifiers on ballot papers.

The Electoral Commission was interested in what identifiers people use when voting (party name, party description and party emblem) and whether similar identifiers can lead to confusion or miscast votes.

 

How we helped

We conducted sixty-nine interviews using a combination of cognitive interviewing, user-testing and eye-tracking methods. During the interviews, participants were shown a campaign flyer for a fictitious political party.

The flyer was then removed and participants were asked to vote for the party whose flyer they had read.  The ballot papers included the details of both real and fictional political parties.

The party name, description and emblem for each party were designed to be similar to each other in different ways. Different versions of these ballot papers were given to different participants.

The findings indicated that participants used identifiers in different ways. The recommendations illustrated how some types of identifier similarity were more problematic than others.

This information will be used to help the Electoral Commission make decisions about party registrations and what identifiers should be used on ballot papers in the future.