Testing the Effects of Ballot Access Reform on Non-Major Party Electoral Fortunes: The Case of Florida's Revision 11

  • Scot Schraufnagel
  • Kerri Milita


The research tests the effects of egalitarian ballot access on the electoral fortunes of non-major party candidates for U.S. House seats. In 1998, Florida voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that removed all auxiliary barriers to ballot access for non-major parties. In bivariate and multiple regression testing, the reform is associated with a statistically significant increase in the number of non-major party candidates and their vote-share. The change, however, is small. Moreover, these increased contestation rates and vote support occur primarily in the first election cycle after the reform was adopted. Output from Tobit and GLS regression suggests that the best case scenario is about a 1.3 percent increase in the non-major party vote share in U.S. House races in Florida. The study concludes that states pursuit of egalitarian ballot access laws will not likely create substantive expansion of minor-party electoral success.


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