WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Smartmatic, the world’s leading elections company, released research today, highlighting voters’ concerns over the current state of America’s voting machines and underlining the connection between outdated technology and a lack of trust in U.S. voting systems. Conducted by the global insight and analytics consultancy Edelman Intelligence, the findings show that following a contentious presidential election, the majority of 2016 U.S. voters want to see investment in new voting systems and technology, and believe that updated technology will increase trust in elections.
Key Research Findings
1. Eight in 10 voters and nearly 90 percent of poll workers believe upgrades to the nation’s voting technology will strengthen and build trust in elections.
2. One in five Americans who voted in the presidential contest do not fully trust that the national election results were accurately tabulated; and one in three have concerns about the accuracy of the voting technology used at their polling place.
3. 69 percent of polled voters - and nearly 80 percent of African-Americans, Hispanics and voters with a disability - said they would support an initiative or legislation that would advocate for or fund improvements to U.S. voting technology.
4. 35 percent of African-American and Hispanic voters stated that the voting process at their local polling place was time-consuming and inefficient, versus 25 percent of voters overall.
5. 86 percent of voters who used electronic voting machines believed them to be the most secure voting system.
Voters and poll workers lack confidence in U.S. voting system
The nationally representative survey of 1,000 voters and 550 poll workers, reflecting all political party affiliations, demonstrated the degree to which outdated voting systems impact voters’ confidence in the election results.
“According to our findings, one in five Americans who voted in the presidential contest do not fully trust that the national election results were accurately tabulated,” said Kari Butcher, Executive Vice President of Edelman Intelligence. “And one in three have concerns about the accuracy of the voting technology used at their polling place.”
After reading information from a study by the Brennan Center for Justice that revealed the majority of America’s existing voting machines are dangerously outdated, 36 percent of voters surveyed said they trusted the national election results less.
Of note, results showed that respondents were most confident in the voting system when using technology, compared to other methods such as voting by mail or paper ballots. Still, nearly 80 percent of voters want upgrades to existing voting technology, and more than 80 percent feel these updates would not only increase trust in the system, but improve the overall election process and strengthen U.S. democracy.
“Confidence—from the first ballot cast to the final result—is the bedrock of democracy,” said Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica. “The contentious 2016 presidential election cast doubt on U.S. election systems and reduced voter confidence in the election process. This research delivers a clear message: secure voting technology increases voter confidence and overall trust in elections. Now is the time to update voting systems for the next election in 2018.”
Minority voters feel disproportionately affected by failing technology
More than one-third of African-American and Hispanic voters said their voting process was time-consuming and inefficient, and nearly half of Hispanic voters reported using outdated voting technology. And an overwhelming 92 percent of African-Americans surveyed and nearly nine in 10 Hispanics felt voters deserved better technology.
These findings compound the results of previous Smartmatic research which found that 83 percent of African-American and 76 percent of Hispanic voters agreed the country needs to invest in modernizing the voting system as a way to increase voter participation and thereby strengthen democracy.
Voters deserve and would like to see improvements in the system
Sixty-nine percent of surveyed voters overall—and nearly 80 percent of African-Americans, Hispanics and voters with a disability—said they would support an initiative or legislation that would advocate for or fund improvements to U.S. voting technology. Unsurprisingly, 82 percent of poll workers agreed.
“We’re seeing very clearly that American voters and poll workers, alike, are calling for changes to outdated voting systems—to build trust, promote inclusion and to strengthen their nation’s democracy,” said Mugica. “This research demonstrates a clear need to make improvements to the systems before the next election cycle.
The research findings showed:
Voters and poll workers do not fully trust the system today
- 56 percent of African-American voters, compared with 81 percent of overall voters, trust that the national election results were accurately tabulated.
- 35 percent of voters overall are concerned about the accuracy of the voting technology used at their local polling places.
- 36 percent of overall voters trust the national election results less after learning that 43 states use electronic voting machines that are at least 10 years old.
Voting machines are perceived to be the most secure voting system
- The majority of voters (51 percent) and poll workers (56 percent) surveyed believe that voting machines are the most secure voting system.
Overall, voters feel most confident in the system they use personally,
when comparing voting by paper at the polls, voting by machine at the
polls or voting by mail.
- 86 percent of voters who used electronic voting machines believed them to be the most secure voting method, compared with the 60 percent who voted on paper or using a punch card and 57 percent of those who used voting by mail who felt most confident in their respective system.
- Confidence in the voting system used was highest among those who voted by machine at the polls.
Minority voters feel disproportionately affected by outdated or failing technology
- Nearly nine in 10 African-American and Hispanic voters say improving U.S. voting technology would increase trust in the voting system.
- 35 percent of African-American and Hispanic voters stated that the voting process at their local polling place was time-consuming and inefficient, versus 25 percent of voters overall.
- 46 percent of Hispanic voters say the voting technology at their local polling place was outdated, compared with 32 percent of voters overall.
Voters deserve and would like to see improvements in the system
- 69 percent of voters and 82 percent of poll workers would support initiatives to advocate for or fund improvements to voting technology in the U.S.
- 92 percent of African-American voters and nearly nine in 10 Hispanic voters and voters with disabilities want better technology.
Additional information on the recent survey, which was conducted by Edelman Intelligence, can be found here.
Founded in the U.S. in 2000, Smartmatic is the leading provider of voting technologies and solutions worldwide. The company has managed elections across five continents, processing over 3.7 billion votes. It serves customers through an organization comprising over 600 employees across 12 offices around the world. For more information, visit www.smartmatic.com
About Edelman Intelligence
Edelman Intelligence is an independent global market research firm and the integrated research, analytics and measurement division of Edelman.