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Public Perceptions, Elections Administration, and the Role of Street Level Bureaucrats

Author: SARA RINFRET, CHRISTINA BARSKY and SAMUEL SCOTT
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 4

A great deal of research has examined how and why individuals vote in the United States. Yet, due to increased accusations of fraudulent electoral practices, more research is needed to explore the role of street- level bureaucrats or front-line actors in the administration of elections. The purpose of this research is to examine a different perspective of electoral processes – public perceptions of county level election administration. We conducted a telephone survey of 605 randomly selected registered voters from Missoula County, Montana to develop an index documenting public confidence in elections administration. The results provide strong support for the important role county level election administrators’ play in shaping and strengthening the future of electoral processes for their communities and states more broadly.

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