Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MAPW)



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Sergio Figueiredo


Dr. Erin Bahl


The goal of this study was to examine the effect that readability and plain language had on voters' responses to Georgia's five legislatively-referred constitutional amendments (LRCA) in the November 2018 election. This study sought to answer the following questions regarding ballot readability and plain language:

  1. Do voters distinguish the difference between traditionally composed ballots and plain language ballots?
  2. Do voters have a preference between conventional worded ballots and reworded ballot language that improved readability?

Given that partisan lawyers and lobbyists write many state ballot questions, there may be tendencies to compose legislatively-referred constitutional amendments in confusing and unclear language designed to increase the likelihood of passage. Simplification of the language, wording, and clarity of legislatively-referred constitutional amendments may have the opposite effect of facilitating a "no" vote on these amendments.

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