Latest Research from the VTP

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

The American Internet Voter

Working Paper No.: 
97
Date Published: 
09/01/2009
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
University of Utah
Betsy Sinclair
Since the creation of the Internet, there have been a seemingly never-ending number of books and analyses about the role of the Internet in Politics. Many of these books fail to keep in mind that the behavior of elites--well-educated and politically active individuals who often represent the peer group of these authors--is not generally representative of the behavior of the public at large. Pundits and political campaign, but few have systemically examined the role of the Internet in participatory politics for the average voter.

Scantegrity II Municipal Election at Takoma Park: The First E2E Binding Governmental Election with Ballot Privacy

Working Paper No.: 
96
Date Published: 
02/01/2010
Author(s): 
Richard Carback
UMBC CDL; Jeremy Clark
University of Waterloo; John Conway
On November 3, 2009, voters in Takoma Park, Maryland, cast ballots for mayor and city council members using the ScantegrityII voting system—the first time any end-to-end (e2e) voting system with ballot privacy has been used in any binding governmental election. This case-study describes how we carried out this complex engineering feat involving improved design and implementation of a novel cryptographic voting system, streamlined procedures, agreements with the City, and assessments of the experiences of voters and poll workers.

Making Voting Easier: Convenience Voting in the 2008 Presidential Election

Working Paper No.: 
95
Date Published: 
03/15/2010
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Ines Levin
In this study we analyze the choice of voting mode in the 2008 presidential election. We use a large-sample survey with national coverage that allows us to overcome limitations of previous studies. Our analysis provides a number of insights into some of the important debates about convenience voting. Among other things, we find little support for the hypothesis that convenience voting methods have partisan implications; although we do find voter attributes that lead to the choice of some particular convenience voting mode.

A Supervised Machine Learning Procedure to Detect Electoral Fraud using Digital Analysis

Working Paper No.: 
11
Date Published: 
03/29/2010
Author(s): 
Sebastian M. Saiegh
University of California
San Diego
This paper introduces a naive Bayes classi

Ukraine 2010: Were Tymoshenko's Cries of Fraud Anything More than Smoke?

Working Paper No.: 
10
Date Published: 
03/01/2010
Author(s): 
Mikhail Myagkov
University of Oregon
Peter C. Ordeshook
Abstract: This paper applies several indicators of fraud to the official precinct level returns of Ukraine‟s 2010 presidential contest – indicators developed and used previously to assess elections in Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan and Venezuela – and compares our findings to the third round of Ukraine‟s 2004 presidential vote. Overall, we conclude that Viktor Yanukovic won a free and fair contest over Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Irrelevance of Benford's Law for Detecting Fraud in Elections

Working Paper No.: 
9
Date Published: 
03/09/2010
Author(s): 
Joseph Deckert
University of Oregon
Mikhail Myagkov
With increasing frequency websites appear to argue that the application of Benford’s Law – a prediction as to the observed frequency of numbers in the first and second digits of official election returns -- establishes fraud in this or that election. However, looking at data from Ohio, Massachusetts and Ukraine, as well as data artificially generated by a series of simulations, we argue here that Benford’s Law is essentially useless as a forensic indicator of fraud.

Making Voter Registration Easier: Evaluation of the "Welcome Kit" Voter Registration Pilot Project

Date Published: 
01/22/2010
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Thad E. Hall
The “Make Voter Registration Easier” (MVRE) pilot project, in the field from February 2008 through May 2009, provided voter registration forms in the “Welcome Kit” packages that were sent to households that changed their address in three postal markets: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The first two markets are exclusively in Ohio and the Cincinnati market includes households in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. This report provides a thorough quantitative and qualitative evaluation of this pilot project, with detailed analyses provided in subsequent chapters.

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