Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Researchers Potentially Skew Vote

Researchers from Dartmouth College and Stanford University crafted official-looking flyers with information about an upcoming election in various states including Montana and sent them to thousands of constituents with the intent of studying the effect of the flyers on the voters. The flyer described two candidates in an upcoming Supreme Court race according to the candidates' political bias even though the candidates were nonpartisan. The flyer had an official state seal and looked like an official voting document; in small print the flyer states that its purpose is for research. Official complaints against the researchers have been filed and they potentially face significant fines if the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices pursues the complaints. Lise Dobrin, a member of UVA's IRB-SBS, commented regarding the ethical implication of the research in Dylan Scott's TPM article.

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