Who Should Run Elections in the United States?

Morgan Llewellyn
Thad E. Hall
Policy Studies Journal

Much has been said since the 2000 presidential election regarding the administration of elections in the United States, particularly about how election administrators are selected and to whom they are responsive. Unfortunately, there has been little research on the different administrative structures that are possible and the preferences of Americans regarding these different administrative options. In this article we present the results from a national survey of American adults in which we asked them their preference for whether elections should be run by partisan or nonpartisan officials, whether the officials should be elected or appointed, and whether the administration of elections should be by a single unitary executive or by an election board. In addition to eliciting the basic preferences of Americans about these administrative choices, we also undertake a deeper analysis of these data to determine the underlying patterns in support for the different administrative options.