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Chih-sung Teng, Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of National Development, National Taiwan University.
Chin-en Wu, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica.
I-jung Ko, MA, Graduate Institute of National Development, National Taiwan University.
What Causes the Invalid Votes? With a Concurrently Discussion of Spatial Analysis of Invalid Votes in Taiwan's Elections, 1992-2008 (in Chinese) Download
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The issue of invalid votes receives few scholarly attentions. Many consider invalid votes as the result of unintended behavior and do not explore the factors that may influence the incidence of invalid votes. We examine 37 elections of different levels between 1992 and 2008 in Taiwan by using panel data analysis. We find that the distribution of invalid votes are not random but are influenced by institutional and socioeconomic factors. Regarding institutional factors, the elections codes, the complexity of elections, the importance of elections, and years after the democratic transition are the main influencing factors. Years of education, the percentage of elders, population density, and percentage of indigenous citizens are the main socioeconomic variables that affect the incidence of invalid votes. The two strings of factors can explain about 34% of the variance in invalid votes. In addition to the pooled OLS model, we also employ spatial lag model and spatial error model. The two models show that the distribution of invalid votes exhibit positive spatial autocorrelation. In addition, some areas also exhibit spatial heterogeneity, which is likely to be attributed to the alienation of voters in the districts. We might need to pay special attention to these areas to enhance the quality of democracy.