Session 3: Social Media for Voter Education Research Roundtable

Thursday, July 28 11:30 AM-12:35 PM

Kristin Mavromatis, Mecklenburg County Board of Elections

Olivia McCall, Deputy Director, Wake County Board of Elections

Paper #1: Restoring Voter Confidence with Voter Education

The significance of voter education in restoring trust between election officials and voters, and empowering voters to distinguish between false narratives and factual election-related information is broadly recognized in the growing field of Election Sciences among academics and legal scholars, civil society, as well as state and local election officials. Local election officials view voter education as a key responsibility, and whereas they have several tools at their disposal, they often lack the resources, or expertise, to use them. This project is part of a broader research initiative that involves the study of LEO-directed voter education efforts across different modes, with an emphasis on voter education through social media. The primary focus of this project is to develop and test a theoretical and empirical framework of voter education and its impact on voter behavior and voter confidence. We draw utilize a novel dataset of Local Election Officials’ (LEOs) use of social media during the 2020 election cycle, and draw from two election administration surveys -the Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE) and the Survey of Local Election Officials – to assess whether voters who live in states where LEOs actively engage in voter education on social media have higher levels of confidence in elections and that their votes were counted accurately. Our study is the first to establish a relationship between voter education and voter confidence.

  • Mara Suttmann-Lea, Connecticut College
  • Thessalia Merivaki, Mississippi State University