Raiders of the lost vote: A theory-driven model of ballot invalidation in Florida’s 2000 election

April Kelly-Woessner, Elizabethtown College
Matthew C. Woessner, Penn State Harrisburg


In analyzing the results of the 2000 Florida election, we argue the need for a more theoretical model of ballot invalidation. The majority of studies to date link together both undervotes and overvotes into one measure of “rejected,” “voided” or “invalidated” ballots. We demonstrate that these two types of errors are notably distinct. Specifically, overvoting involves more cognitive or “decision” errors, while undervoting is more a product of mechanical or “physical” errors. As such, we maintain that undervotes are more likely to be the product of random error and are less likely to be related to the racial composition of a district than are overvotes. © 2005 Policy Studies Organization.