Voter Experience Survey May 2017

The May 2017 Voter Experience Survey was administered online with Survey Monkey and distributed via email to Seventy’s 13,000+ newsletter subscribers and through the organization’s Twitter and Facebook accounts; the live survey link was also available on Paid Facebook promotion was targeted to Philadelphia residents, ages 18 to 65+. The survey was open from 9 am on Friday, May 12 to Friday, May 19, at midnight, available before Election Day for voters submitting absentee or alternative ballots. Respondents were limited to one submission per IP address.

Seventy appreciates the support of the community, civic and media organizations who assisted in disseminating the survey – and to the more 1,700 citizens who participated. Out of Philadelphia’s approximately one million registered voters, more than 177,000 cast ballots on May 16, 2017. To view previous survey results, visit

Question 1: Did you vote in Person on Election Day or by mail?

I voted in person1,76599%
I voted by mail 12<1%

Question 2: Were there any problems getting your absentee or alternative ballot?


Question 3: Approximately how long did you wait in line to vote? 

Not at all1,32875%
Less than 10 minutes36121%
10-30 minutes573%
31 minutes to an hour6<1%
More than an hour4<1%
I don't know4<1%

Question 4: Did you encounter any individuals canvassing or distributing partisan flyers, buttons or posters inside the polling place (i.e. the space or room where the voting machines are located)? 


Question 5: Was there a problem with your voter registration when you tried to vote?


If Yes:  Were you allowed to vote? (Continued from Question 5)

Yes, by voting machine4982%
Yes, by provisional ballot610%
No, not allowed to vote58%

Question 6: Were you asked to show picture identification, such as a driver's license, at the polling place?


If Yes: Was this your first time voting at this particular polling place?


Were you then allowed to vote?

Yes, by the voting machine12098%
Yes, by the provisional ballot1<1%
No, not allowed to vote1<1%

Question 7: Did you encounter any problems with the voting equipment or the ballot that may have interfered with your ability to cast your vote as intended?

Don't know16<1%

Question 8: Did you need help or assistance voting due to a disability? 


If Yes: How did you recieve help or assistance voting at the polling place? (Check all that apply)

A person of my choosing assisted me533%
I used the audio keypad/headphone device17%
The voting machine was lowered427%
I had to submit an alternative ballot00%
I did not recieve any assistance17%
I recieved another form of assistance427%

Were you able to successfully vote?


Question 9: Were the poll workers able to address any questions or issues you encountered in the voting process?


Question 10: Please rate the job performance of the poll worker at the polling place where you voted.

Poor 453%

Question 11: How confident are you that the current election process in Philadelphia (or in your particular county) produces fair outcomes?

4 (Very confident)86649%
1 (Not at all confident)593%

Methodology Note

The Voter Experience Survey was piloted in November 2015, collecting 650 responses from city residents and another 50 from the surrounding counties. The April 2016 survey gathered 1,070 responses, 170 of which were from counties outside the city. Most questions have been collected from academic studies conducted in other states and have been kept consistent each election season. Responses were anonymous.

These results are not drawn from a random and representative sample of Philadelphia-area voters. Despite the large number of respondents, only rough generalizations can be inferred about the experiences of the nearly 1,700 survey participants – not the broader population of voters. The survey is designed to identify issues that the electorate at large may be encountering in the voting process. The open-ended responses listed above are verbatim as received from respondents.

Please contact Policy Program Manager Patrick Christmas at with questions or feedback on the Voter Experience Survey.

Seventy appreciates the support of the Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation in supporting this work.