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Ballot Roll-off in Intermediate Appellate Court Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  15 less than 55 percent of the vote (16.51). We see a similar decline in roll-off for contested (both competitive and uncompetitive) and uncontested partisan elections with no incumbency advantage. However, roll-off in partisan elections is roughly 7 percent less than in nonpartisan contests in all three cases. In fact, the lowest rate of roll-off in IAC elections (9.54 percent) occurs in a contested partisan race with no previously elected incumbent and where the winning candidate earns less than 55 percent of the vote. [Table 4 about here] There are similar effects in races that contain a successful incumbent. The difference in roll-off in uncontested nonpartisan and partisan races that feature an incumbent remains around 7 percent. However, when a challenger is on the ballot, the difference drops to roughly 1.5 percent. Again, roll-off in contested elections that feature an incumbent declines, as does roll-off when the election is competitive. These numbers underscore that roll-off in IAC elections is heavily dependent on the rules that structure the election and the competitive context of the individual race. Partisan elections with two candidates vying for office in a highly competitive environment provide the greatest impetus for citizens to vote in judicial races. Overall, most of the results reported in this study are consistent with the story in supreme court races. Table 5 compares Hall’s (2007) findings to ours. Eight of the variables included in each model yield the same results in terms of direction and statistical significance, while the most pronounced difference is for education. [Table 5 about here] Discussion and Conclusion In her study of ballot roll-off in supreme court elections, Hall (2007) found that that roll- off was not random. There was variation regarding the amount of roll-off within and across

Authors: Streb, Matthew., Frederick, Brian. and LaFrance, Casey.
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less than 55 percent of the vote (16.51). We see a similar decline in roll-off for contested (both
competitive and uncompetitive) and uncontested partisan elections with no incumbency
advantage. However, roll-off in partisan elections is roughly 7 percent less than in nonpartisan
contests in all three cases. In fact, the lowest rate of roll-off in IAC elections (9.54 percent)
occurs in a contested partisan race with no previously elected incumbent and where the winning
candidate earns less than 55 percent of the vote.
[Table 4 about here]
There are similar effects in races that contain a successful incumbent. The difference in
roll-off in uncontested nonpartisan and partisan races that feature an incumbent remains around 7
percent. However, when a challenger is on the ballot, the difference drops to roughly 1.5
percent. Again, roll-off in contested elections that feature an incumbent declines, as does roll-off
when the election is competitive. These numbers underscore that roll-off in IAC elections is
heavily dependent on the rules that structure the election and the competitive context of the
individual race. Partisan elections with two candidates vying for office in a highly competitive
environment provide the greatest impetus for citizens to vote in judicial races.
Overall, most of the results reported in this study are consistent with the story in supreme
court races. Table 5 compares Hall’s (2007) findings to ours. Eight of the variables included in
each model yield the same results in terms of direction and statistical significance, while the
most pronounced difference is for education.
[Table 5 about here]
Discussion and Conclusion
In her study of ballot roll-off in supreme court elections, Hall (2007) found that that roll-
off was not random. There was variation regarding the amount of roll-off within and across


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