Latest Research from the VTP

Voting Technology: Vote-by-Mail, and Residual Votes in California, 1990-2010

Working Paper No.: 
120
Date Published: 
09/01/2013
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez, Caltech
Charles Stewart III, MIT
Dustin Beckett, Caltech

To test the supposition that the lost votes recovered by California through the modernization of voting technologies may be being undone by the trend toward more voting by mail, Table A1 attempts to quantify changes in the residual vote rate in each county from the presidential elections of 1992 to 2008 due to changes in voting technologies, and due to the growth in voting by mail.  The table starts by reporting turnout in the 1992 and 2008 presidential elections; the percentage of ballots cast by mail in 1992 and 2008, along with the change across the two years; the type of voting equipmen

Report on Registration Systems in American Elections

Working Paper No.: 
118
Date Published: 
06/26/2013
Author(s): 
Stephen Ansolabehere, Harvard University
Charles Stewart III, MIT

The Voter Registration System is essential for the management of precincts, handling of ballots, authentication of voters, and communications with voters. The Registration system is massive, with 191.8 million records and 130.3 million voters.

The Registration system is decentralized, managed by 8,000 different local election offices as well as 50 state offices and used at 186,000 different precincts on Election Day. Decentralized use of the lists is a necessity of running elections at many different precincts and through county offices.

Waiting in Line to Vote

Working Paper No.: 
114
Date Published: 
07/28/2013
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III, MIT
Stephen Ansolabehere, Harvard University
  • Waiting in long lines discourages some people from voting, undermines confidence in the electoral system, and imposes economic costs on voters.

THE NEW MEXICO 2006 POST ELECTION AUDIT REPORT

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Thad E. Hall
Journal: 
Collaboration with The University of New Mexico, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, University of Utah
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
During the 2007 legislative session, the New Mexico Legislature passed a bill and Governor Richardson signed it into law, which provides for random voting system audits after every statewide general election (see §1-14-13.1, NMSA). Specifically, the law provides that county clerks are to compare the total votes tallied in the general election for the office of president or governor from a random selection of 2% of the voting systems used during the election throughout the state to a hand count of the ballots cast on that system. A voting system is

Report on Provisional Ballots and American Elections

Working Paper No.: 
115
Date Published: 
06/21/2013
Author(s): 
Daron Shaw, University of Texas at Austin
Vincent Hutchings, University of Michigan

Overview

Administration of Absentee Ballot Programs

Working Paper No.: 
112
Date Published: 
07/15/2013
Author(s): 
Barry C. Burden, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brian J. Gaines, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Executive Summary

  1. Americans cast their ballots in three main ways: at a traditional neighborhood polling place on election day; early, in person at a government office or voting center; and absentee, which is usually submitted early by mail.  The proportion of all ballots cast by the latter two methods continues to rise steadily.

  2. The introduction and expanded use of convenience (absentee and early) voting does not seem to have increased voter turnout.

Voting by Overseas Citizens and Deployed Military Personnel

Working Paper No.: 
119
Date Published: 
06/01/2013
Author(s): 
Donald S. Inbody, Texas State University

Introduction

The Recruitment and Training of Poll Workers: What We Know from Scholarly Research

Working Paper No.: 
111
Date Published: 
09/06/2013
Author(s): 
Barry C. Burden, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri

In every election an army of temporary poll workers must be recruited and trained to both assist the public in exercising the right to vote and to enforce the rules governing the voting process.  These poll workers are geographically dispersed and serve as the front line workers interacting with tens of millions of voters.  Principal-agent theory suggests that this is a difficult task for election officials.

Lessons from the 2012 Election Administration and Voting Survey

Working Paper No.: 
113
Date Published: 
08/03/2013
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III, MIT
Daron Shaw, UT Austin

Since our country’s inception, collecting appropriate data on elections and the administration of elections has been somewhat problematic, due to the fact that multiple levels of government are involved in running elections in the U.S. and because of difficulties in obtaining comparable information from the different states and localities.  Beginning with the 2004 elections, the Election Assistance Commission has conducted national surveys of election administrators in an effort to facilitate a better understanding of how U.S.

Reducing Obstacles to Voting for People with Disabilities

Working Paper No.: 
116
Date Published: 
06/22/2013
Author(s): 
Lisa Schur, Rutgers University

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s mission includes identifying best practices and making recommendations to promote voting accessibility and improve the experiences of voters with disabilities.  This White Paper reviews the evidence on voter turnout and voting difficulties among people with disabilities, and identifies best practices for removing obstacles that can limit their ability to exercise the right to vote.  As will be seen, while progress has been made, significantly more needs to be done to make the election system fully accessible.

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