Latest Research from the VTP

Election Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation

Date Published: 
05/05/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Susan Hyde
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The potential for fraud overshadows elections around the world, even in long-established democracies. Significant allegations of fraud marred recent elections in Italy, Mexico, and several former Soviet republics. In the United States, charges of manipulation in the 2000 presidential contest heightened concern about the vulnerability of all aspects of the election process, ranging from voter registration to the security of high-tech voting machines.

Fair and competitive elections are the bedrock of democratic government. They are essential mechanisms for providing public accountability, transparency, and representation. They give ordinary citizens the opportunity to choose those who govern and to express their views on the critical issues facing their community or nation. Fraud derails this process by preventing voters' voices from being heard. Yet despite its importance, too little is known about election fraud and manipulation.

Election Fraud presents research on defining, measuring, and detecting election fraud and electoral manipulation by leading scholars of election law, election administration, and U.S. and comparative politics. The first part of the book examines the U.S. understanding of election fraud in comparative perspective. The second part empirically investigates the extent and nature of election fraud in the United States. The concluding section analyzes techniques for detecting and potentially deterring fraud. These strategies include both statistical analysis and on-the-ground election monitoring.

Precinct Voting Denial of Service

Date Published: 
10/05/2005
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
This is a type of threat that has a long history in electoral politics, and can take many forms.1 The basic approach is that a perpetrator attacks precinct voting, regardless of voting system, on election day in an effort to disrupt the process sufficiently to produce an effective “denial of service” attack. The perpetrator, based on an analysis of past elections returns, would target selected precincts that are highly likely to cast votes in a certain direction.

Who Should Run Elections in the United States

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Thad E. Hall
Morgan Llewellyn
Journal: 
Policy Studies Journal
pp: 
325-346
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
08/01/2008
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.

Voting - What Is, What Could Be

Date Published: 
07/01/2001
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
On December 15, 2000, the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a collaborative project to develop new voting technology in order "to precent a recurrence of the problems that threatened the 2000 presidential election." The problems in the 2000 election go well beyond voting equipment. This report assesses the magnitude of the problems, their root causes, and how technology can reduce them.

Voting Machines and the Underestimate of the Bush Vote

Date Published: 
12/05/2004
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
  1. A series of claims have been made in recent days alleging that discrepancies between exit poll results and the presidential vote in certain states provides evidence of malfeasance in those states. These claims seem to be concentrated on states using electronic voting systems.
  2. Exit polls predicted a significantly greater vote for Kerry nationwide than the official results confirmed, but there is not any apparent systematic bias when we take this same analysis to the state level.

Assessing Electoral Performance in New Mexico Using an Ecosystem

Date Published: 
04/26/2010
Author(s): 
Lonna Rae Atkeson
University of New Mexico
R. Michael Alvarez
Election administration in New Mexico has been closely scrutinized since the close 2000 presidential election, which was decided by a mere 316 votes. In that election, questions arose about the adequacy of New Mexico’s voting systems and the efficiency of the election administration process.1 In 2002 the passage of the Help America Vote Act sent federal resources to state agencies to purchase new equipment. In New Mexico some of this money was passed on to county clerks, many of who purchased new electronic voting equipment.

Voting Technology and the Election Experience: The 2009 Gubernatorial Races in New Jersey and Virginia

Working Paper No.: 
99
Date Published: 
07/14/2010
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
University of Utah
R. Michael Alvarez
Abstract: In this paper, we examine the attitudes of voters regarding the voting experience in the 2009 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia. We focus especially on the way in which voting technology experiences that voters have had affect their confidence in the voting process, their attitudes toward fraud and reform, and other aspects of the voting process. We find that voters are sensitive to the voting mode they use—in person voting compared to absentee voting—as well as to whether they get to vote on the technology they prefer (paper versus electronic).

Voter Opinions about Election Reform: Do They Support Making Voting More Convenient?

Working Paper No.: 
98
Date Published: 
07/14/2010
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT
Ines Levin
We study public opinions about convenience voting reforms, using a unique state-by-state survey conducted in the 2008 presidential election. Our analysis of the American voting public’s support for potential convenience voting reforms provides a variety of important insights into the potential direction of innovations in the electoral process in the near future. First, we find that the most prominent convenience voting reforms have mixed support. These include attitudes toward automatic voter registration, Election Day voter registration, and moving Election Day to

Correcting for Survey Misreports using Auxiliary Information with an Application to Estimating Turnout

Author(s): 
Jonathan N. Katz
Caltech
Gabriel Katz
Journal: 
AJPS
pp: 
815-835
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
06/21/2010
Misreporting is a problem that plagues researchers that use survey data. In this paper, we give conditions under which misreporting will lead to incorrect inferences. We then develop a model that corrects for misreporting using some auxiliary information, usually from an earlier or pilot validation study. This correction is implemented via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, which allows us to correct for other problems in surveys, such as non-response. This correction will allow researchers to continue to use the non-validated data to make inferences.

Voter Registration List Quality Pilot Studies: Report on Detailed Results

Date Published: 
06/08/2010
Author(s): 
Stephen Ansolabehere
Department of Government
Harvard University
Between August 2008 and July 2009, audits were conducted to assess the quality of voter registration lists in two areas of the United States. These audits, conducted by Professors Stephen Ansolabehere and Alan Gerber with research assistance from David Doherty and Eitan Hersh, and funded by the Pew Center on the States, represent an initial e

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