butterfly ballots

[from Mary Powers 2000.12.19]

This is from Nature v.408, 7 December 2000, "An electoral butterfly effect".

The authors did two studies on whether the butterfly ballot was likely to
confuse voters. The conclusion was yes. Their study also "suggests that the
butterfly ballot may cause systematic errors in voting which could cast
doubt on the validity of the results from the Palm Beach County vote" -
that is, most errors occurred against the candidate in the Gore position on
the ballot, in favor of the candidate in the Buchanan position.

The study was done at a Canadian shopping mall, with the ballot showing
candidates really running for prime minister and only a few test subjects
aware of the US mess. It was quite small, but the results do point in a
interesting direction.