Call for Papers: Summer Conference on Election Science, Reform, and Administration

Paper proposals are being invited for a Summer Conference on Election Science, Reform, and Administration, hosted by Reed College and Portland State University, and co-sponsored by the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College and the Election Data and Science Lab at MIT. The conference will be held in Portland, OR from July 26-27, 2017.  

The goals of the conference are, first, to provide a forum for scholars in political science, public administration, law, computer science, statistics, and other fields who are working to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how laws and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States; and, second, to build scientific capacity by identifying major questions in the field, fostering collaboration, and connecting senior and junior scholars.

The conference is designed to facilitate close attention to the papers presented, including extensive feedback and discussion. Therefore, papers should represent new work, with early drafts of papers encouraged.

We hope that a wide variety of topics will be addressed at the conference. We are particularly interested in new and innovative projects that address long standing questions about the impact of election reforms on registration and turnout at both the state and federal level; how the voter experience has improved or eroded during the two recent waves of election reform; and the research design and methodological challenges in election science. The following is a list provides a few sample ideas, but should not be considered exhaustive:  

  • How new or changed election laws affect the size and makeup of the pool of registered voters and the federal, state, and/or local electorates;
  • Professionalization (or the lack thereof) and the quality of election administration;
  • Evaluating the impact of voting centers, consolidated precincts, and convenience voting;
  • How election reform has differentially impacted historically disadvantaged segments of the electorate;
  • The analytical and methodological tools needed to work with voter registration and voter history files, and challenges in making causal inferences when working with these files;
  • New methods for connecting other behavioral records (e.g. survey data) or geospatial data with voter history and voter turnout data

Airfare, lodging, and conference meals will be covered for paper presenters and discussants. Other scholars are welcome to attend if they can cover conference costs (details to be announced within a month).

Lonna Atkeson, University of New Mexico, and Bernard Fraga, Indiana University, will serve as program co-chairs, and Paul Gronke, Reed College and Phil Keisling, Center for Public Service at PSU, will act as conference organizers and hosts.

Paper proposals of no more than 250 words should be submitted by April 15, 2017.  Submit proposals at http://bit.ly/PDXelection – we expect to announce decisions by May 1.  Any questions can be sent to atkeson@umn.edu, bfraga@indiana.edu, or gronke@reed.edu.

Scholars wishing to attend without presenting a paper should also contact Emily Hebbron (hebbron@reed.edu) by May 1st.  Further details about the conference will posted on the conference Web site soon thereafter.

Please feel free to re-distribute this announcement to relevant individuals and e-mail lists. We look forward to reading your paper proposals!

Yours sincerely,

Lonna Atkeson, Bernard Fraga, and Paul Gronke

Upcoming: Election Scientists Look at Oregon Motor Voter

Over the next few weeks, I hope to be featuring on this blog postings from students who are in a new course being offered at Reed College: Data Sciences / Election Sciences.

The course is a collaborative effort with Andrew Bray, a statistics professor at Reed College, and is partially supported by a Student Digital Research grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation (more information about the grant and the projects it has supported at Reed is contained at this website.) 

What better question to have these young scientists answer than the impact of Oregon’s innovative automatic registration system, aptly named “Oregon Motor Voter”?  We hope to go beyond the reports provided by the Oregon Secretary of State  to understand not just who is being registered via OMV, but who votes as a result of the law, and how the electorate has changed, and may change in the future, as a consequence of this reform. 

Step one is going to be a set of pretty data visualizations to whet the appetite. Expect more very soon! 

2016 Early Voting Calendar is up and running

Yes, late, yes, spreadsheet not yet in public release, yes, I get it.  This is a fast and furious election!

EVIC’s 2016 Early Voting Calendar is up and running.  As with past year’s, the calendar provides easy visual displays of balloting periods for all early votes (no-excuse absentee and early in-person) as well as visualizations for each mode of balloting.

We partnered with Vote.org this year to coordinate some of our data collection, but we are responsible for everything published on the site.  Our focus is more on the time period for early voting, and less on the mechanisms by which an individual citizen requests and receives an early ballot.  Head on over to vote.org for that information.

One unique element in our calendar is that we have attempted to collect information on when no-excuse ballots are actually mailed.  In some cases, that’s required us to contact elections offices directly, and sometimes the answer has been “as soon as they are printed.”  We try to represent that timeline as best as possible.

I’m sure there are some miscodes and glitches still in the spreadsheet.  We’ll fix these as rapidly as we hear about them.

New issue of Election Law Journal is out: Aliens and Voter ID, Forum on Bruce Cain’s new book on election reform, and more.

 

Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy

Volume: 13, Number: 4, December 2014

View this Issue Online

 

 

EVIC in the News: NPR All Things Considered story on Absentee Voting

Paul Gronke is interviewed by Pam Fessler in this story: http://www.npr.org/2014/10/22/358108606/want-your-absentee-vote-to-count-dont-make-these-mistakes

New Election Law Journal released

The latest issue of Election Law Journal marks the debut of Policy Central, a new section that recognizes the need for smart and rigorous analysis of election practices and procedures at every level. We invite brief policy-focused submissions from election officials, legal scholars, political scientists, and others working in the field. For submission guidelines, please contact Doug Chapin, Director of the Program for Excellence in Election Administration, University of Minnesota.

Please enjoy complimentary, two-week access to this important new section:

Policy Central: Designing and Evaluating Independent Redistricting Commissions

Introduction
D. Chapin

Redistricting, Risk, and Representation: How Five State Gerrymanders Weathered the Tides of the 2000s
N.M. Goedert

Making Local Redistricting Less Political: Independent Redistricting Commissions for U.S. Cities
S. Bickerstaff

Fair Redistricting in New Jersey and the Role of the Eleventh Member
J. Newton-Farrelly

EVIC's 2014 Early Voting Calendar and Spreadsheet EVIC’s 2014 Early Voting Calendar and Spreadsheet

If you follow EVIC you already know that early and absentee voting laws and policies are complex and vary widely across the fifty states. That’s why EVIC publishes an early and absentee voting calendar and spreadsheet for every general election.

This year, we’ve updated our products and hope the additional information encourages further dialogue about how these rules affect voters. So, make sure to try out all the new bells and whistles. Below, we explain what our information means and provide some basic context. If you’re worried that we misrepresent any state’s election law or policy, do not hesitate to let us know and post below.

Finally, EVIC wants to thank Jonathan Harvey and Tony Moreno, from Reed College CIS, who helped program and design the new calendar. I also want to thank Alex Arpaia, who helped gather the early and absentee voting data.

More information below the split.

Continue reading

Reflections on Election Observation in Ukraine featured in electionline.org

My comments about my time spent as an election observer in Ukraine are featured in this week’d electionline.org newsletter:

‘Don’t go, just don’t go.’
‘You realize you just spent a week’s wages on that souvenir?’

By Paul Gronke
Reed College

Those two quotations — the first from a concerned coworker before I left and the second from my translator at the end of the mission — reflect much of my experience as an election observer for the OSCE/ODHIR mission to Ukrainian presidential election on May 25, 2014.

The mission to Ukraine was my third time as an election observer for ODIHR. Previously, I’ve served as an observer for the Albanian parliamentary election in June 2013 and the Kyrgyz presidential election in October 2011.

While many of my friends and colleagues were intrigued by the trip to Kyrgyzstan, and a bit jealous of my mid summer trip to Albania, the Ukrainian mission — for obvious reasons — prompted the most interest and concern. ….

To read the rest, go to this week’s electionline.org newsletter.

Election Day in Ukraine: First Impressions Election Day in Ukraine: First Impressions

Untitled 2It has been a peaceful morning of balloting in Kherson, Ukraine.  I am here monitoring elections as part of an international mission.  I’ve met hundreds of other observers from the United States, Canada, Germany, and many other countries.  All are hard working and dedicated individuals who are interested in helping to cement democratic development in the country.

Kherson is in the south of the country, and is best known as the dying place of John Howard, famous British prison reformer. (I haven’t visited the pub named after Howard just yet.)

 

 

 

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Because Kherson is located just west of Crimea and has more than 50% of the population who report Russian as their native language, you’d think that this region would be tense.  We had to sit through extra security briefings before we were deployed to the area.

But the two words that would describe the election thus far are busy and calm.  The election is busy because the lines are long and voter interest is high.  These lines aren’t helped by the economic crisis in the country which has resulted in understaffed polling places and too few voting booths. Things aren’t so different in the United States!

Nonetheless, voters seem to be in good spirits, perhaps helped by the beautiful, warm, sunny summer Sunday, and generally calm–except when they’ve had to wait for an hour to vote!

I hope for a free and fair outcome, one that may help the country move forward.  I’m sure everyone here hopes for the same.

EVIC research in Presidential Commission on Election Administration

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration, also known as the Bauer-Ginsberg Commission, has issued its final report.  Rick Hasen, waking and working before all of us, has already provided a great summary of findings and recommendations.  I’m particularly excited to see the Election Toolkit produced by the Voting Information Project.

I testified before the Commission in Denver, accompanied by Jacob Canter (exp. ’14).  Our work last summer was partially supported by the Alta S. Corbett Summer Research Program of Reed College.

Congratulations to Nate, Charles, Tammy, Ann, Chris, Ben, Bob, Trey, and all the commission members and staff!