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Lee Demetrius Walker, "The Ballot as a Party-System Switch: The Role of the Australian Ballot in Party-System Change and Development in the USA," Party Politics, 11 (March, 2005), 217-241.

First Paragraph:
The extent to which parties penetrate society is one of the ways that party systems differ. Mair (1997: 51-2) argues that party-system change 'occurs when a party system is transformed from one class or type of party system to another'. Political scientists almost universally agree that the elections of 1896 signified a party-system change in the USA. Nevertheless, this change differed from party-system changes prior to or subsequent to the 1896 change in that there was no massive and/or sudden switch by the electorate to a new majority party. Rather, in the 1896 Realignment, the majority party lost congressional seats, but not in sufficient number to constitute a change in its majority party status

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Region, state, party control at time of Australian ballot adoption
Figure 1. Models of induced party-system change
Table 2. Probability of early Australian ballot adoption
Figure 2. Predicted probability of early ballot adoption by party of governor during adoption in comparison to party of governor after adoption
Figure 3. Predicted probability of early Australian ballot adoption by region
Figure 4. Predicted probability of early Australian ballot adoption by member-districts per state
Figure 5. State level predicted early adoption of Australian ballot minus actual early adoption of Australian ballot
Appendix 1. Measures of independent variables
Appendix 2. State data

First paragraph of Conclusion:
The implementation of the Australian ballot, precisely because it is an official state ballot, offered parties that controlled the state a mechanism to control ballot access. Ware (2000: 9) argues that the 'real significance of the Australian ballot was that it was an official (or state) ballot as opposed to an unofficial ballot'. The new ability of state parties to control the electoral environment altered the manner in which parties penetrated society. The decline in voter participation after the early adoption of the ballot provides verification of the altered level of public penetration and characterizes the Fourth Party Period. McSeveney (1994: 158) argues that ballot reforms of this period 'reduced the potential for interparty competition and with it the value of the vote'. This study offers evidence that the two major parties were active agents in the reduction of inter-party competition at the congressional district level.