Voters Not So Savvy on 2006 Midterm Election Ballot Measures

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Millions of voters will head to the polls for the 2006 Midterm Election, but statistics show many of them won't understand the ballot measures. On Election Day in 2002 only 52.9 percent of registered voters in the United States filled out ballots. A fun personality quiz on reports a high percentage of people will not vote during the 2006 Midterm Election. Advocacy groups and statistics from larger states report lengthy and confusing ballot measures are to blame.

The fun personality quiz "Are You Normal?" on found that 40 percent of participants were not planning to vote and another 40 percent didn't know what ballot measures were. As the 2006 Midterm Election approaches, many voters are perplexed by complicated ballot measures, which can cause them to forgo voting all together.

Although advocacy groups rely for voters to make informed decisions, statistics from high-population states show many voters are confused by convoluted ballot measures that are partly to blame for low voter turnout.

In the fun personality quiz "Are You Normal?" ( users were asked, "When it comes to voting on ballot measures, how savvy are you?" Forty percent of respondents replied, "Ballot measures? What are those? I'm not voting anyway." Nearly 23 percent of users replied, "I don't research, but I vote on the measures the best that I can." Almost 25 percent of respondents answered, "I read my sample ballot and follow up on any measures that are confusing," 9 percent of respondents reported they vote for candidates and skip ballot measures, and 3 percent tend to vote "no" on ballot measures.

The 40 percent of participants who replied "I will not vote anyway," is not unusual. During the 2002 Midterm Election, only 52.9 percent of registered voters in the United States turned out. Advocacy groups say the combination of a lengthy ballot and complex ballot initiatives can cause voters to make unintended choices or worse, not vote at all.

In a second question on the "Are You Normal?" quiz (, 39 percent of participants reported there is no chance they will vote on Election Day 2006. About 26 percent report they may vote if it's convenient and only 36 percent are absolutely sure they will.

Statistics in larger states like New York and California reflect the "Are You Normal?" quiz responses to ballot measures. Megan Quattlebaum, Associate Director of Common Cause New York, a non-partisan political process advocacy group, recently stated, "A very small percentage of New Yorkers actually vote on ballot questions at all. The reality is that important issues come before the voters and a relatively small percentage of voters actually decide the outcome."

In California where ballots are known to be lengthy; with 13 measures for Election Day 2006 and 12 in the 2005 special election, experts agree. In a recent Los Angeles Daily News article, USC Law Professor Elizabeth Garrett stated, "When voters do get confused, they tend to vote against a measure-the safer choice than voting in favor of something they don't fully understand."

In a Public Policy Institute of California statewide survey released in October, 31 percent of Democrats strongly agreed the wording in ballot measures was too confusing; 25 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Independent voters followed suit. attracts thousands of users every day to response-driven Web sites that cover trends in parenting style, personal growth, fashion, food, music, home ownership, education, and more. Chatterbean, its associated Web sites, and fun quizzes can be found at


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Aurelie Guerrieri
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