【Research Note】Does the Position Effect Exist in Taiwan? The Case of the 2002 Local Council Election
Author: Austin Horng-en Wang
Abstract / Chinese PDF Download
In Taiwan, the candidate’s position on the ballot is decided by in a public draw before campaign period. Candidates, election officials and even news media, believe that a higher place on the ballot is an advantage which can translate into a greater vote share. This belief is called the “position effect” in electoral studies, in which the order of candidate on the ballot may influence vote share. This potential threat to electoral integrity has led to courts in some countries to require reforms to ballot design such as position randomization and order rotation. Therefore, this study on the ballot position effect in Taiwan not only falsifies this wide-spread belief, but also has policy implications. This article classifies three forms of position effect: the “top position advantage,” the “last position disadvantage,” and “order effect.” These three hypotheses are falsified through the 2002 local council election, which was conducted using a single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system. Beta regression reveals that position effect does not exist in analysis of the full sample nor within candidates of same party. Explanations for its non-existence include the SNTV system, the voluntary voting rule, adequate information provided on the ballot, party identification, and vote equalization.