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Using Twitter to observe election incidents in the United States

Mebane, Walter R., Pineda, Alejandro, Woods, Logan, Klaver, Joseph, Wu, Patrick and Miller, Blake Andrew Phillip ORCID: 0000-0002-4707-0984 (2017) Using Twitter to observe election incidents in the United States. . University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Individuals’ observations about election administration can be valuable to improve election performance, to help assess how well election forensics methods work, to address interesting behavioral questions and possibly to help establish the legitimacy of an election. In the United States such observations cannot be gathered through official channels. We use Twitter to extract observations of election incidents by individuals all across the United States throughout the 2016 election, including primaries, caucuses and the general election. To classify Tweets for relevance and by type of election incident, we use automated machine classification methods in an active learning framework. We demonstrate that for primary election day in one state (California), the distribution of types of incidents revealed by data developed from Twitter roughly matches the distribution of complaints called in to a hotline run on that day by the state. For the general election we develop hundreds of thousands of incident observations that occur at varying rates in different states, that vary over time and by type and that depend on state election and demographic conditions. Thousands of observations concern long lines, but even more celebrate successful performance of the election process—testimonies that ”I voted!” proliferate.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2019 13:45
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 13:30

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