PurposeIn its election for the Board of Trustees on June 15, 2010, the Village of Port Chester, New York used cumulative voting (CV) for the first time. Six seats on the Board of Trustees were up for election. Voters had six votes. Under cumulative voting, voters could “plump” (i.e., give all sixvotes to one or a small number of candidates) or distribute their votes to up to six differentcandidates. Voters also had their first opportunity in a New York State election to vote in personearly (during the week before Election Day). Turnout in the election was 3,357 voters, including604 early voters, 2,674 Election Day voters, and 79 absentee voters. Turnout was at least 10%higher than in recent Port Chester municipal elections. This report evaluates the votingexperience in the election with an exit poll administered to voters as they left the polling place,or mailed to them if they voted absentee. We received completed surveys from 1,934 voters inthe election. Of the remaining voters, 1,036 refused to take the survey and 387 were missed bythe interviewers. However, we collected some information on 1,145 of the remaining 1,423voters who did not answer the survey. Using data from the survey, we answer five primaryresearch questions:
Whether voters were familiar with cumulative voting before coming to vote.
Whether voters found the Village’s voter education campaign helpful.
Whether voters understood the voting instructions.
Whether voters took full advantage of the cumulative voting system.
Whether voters were satisfied with the overall voting experience.Methodology
An effort was made to survey every voter in the Port Chester election immediately after theyleft the polling place.
An exit poll was administered to early voters at Village Hall (N=377) and Election Day votersat ten polling places in Port Chester (N=1,541). A mail-in survey was sent to absentee voters(N=16).
Voter cooperation rates at polling locations (including early voting at Village Hall) rangedfrom 56% to 74%. The mail-in cooperation rate for absentee voters was 19%.
Questionnaires were available in English or Spanish.