2021 statewide voting metrics written at second-year graduate reading level – Ballotpedia News



The voting language for the 39 voting metrics appearing on nine statewide ballots in 2021 is written at an average reading level of 18 (second year of graduate school), up from 15 in 2019.

Ballotpedia’s annual readability analysis of ballot titles and ballot metrics summaries was conducted using two formulas, the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level ( FKGL). The FRE formula produces a score between a negative number and 100, with the highest score (100) representing an equivalent reading level in 5th year and scores equal to or less than zero representing the reading level equivalent to a university degree. The FKGL formula produces a score equivalent to the estimated number of years of study in the United States required to understand a text.

Here are some highlights from this year’s report:

  • On average in 2021, ballot titles or questions were written at an 18-year-old reading level (second year of graduate school).
  • The average ballot title or question level by state in 2021 ranged from seven in Washington to 32 in Colorado.
  • In 2019, Flesch-Kincaid’s average grade level for voting credentials or statewide voting metrics questions was 15 years of formal education in the United States, and the average scores of l State ranged from nine to 27.
  • Ballotpedia identified 15 metrics with a poll summary that was to appear with the poll question on the ballot. Flesch-Kincaid’s average grade level for ballot summaries was 14.
  • The average ballot score by state ranged from nine in Louisiana to 17 in Pennsylvania.
  • The average ballot title or question mark was highest for ballot titles drafted by secretaries of state (25) and other state boards and offices (21).
  • The Washington attorney general wrote the headlines with the lowest seven-year average.
  • The average ballot title or question in 2021 was around 53 words long. In 2019, the average length of voting titles was 41 words.
  • The 2021 ballot measure with the longest ballot title was Colorado Proposition 119, which concerns an after-school education program and an increase in the sales tax on marijuana. The ballot question is 142 words.
  • The states with the shortest voting titles or questions on average were Texas, Washington, and Maine; none of the three states presented any summaries or additional explanations on the ballot.

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