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Last week the Pew Charitable Trust released the EPI that examines elections administration performance data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first time ever.
(Published Feb 11, 2013)
From the release: “The study builds a new baseline for measuring election administration by looking at such indicators as polling location wait times, availability of voting information tools online, the number of rejected voter registrations, the percentage of voters with registration or absentee ballot problems, how many military and overseas ballots were rejected, voter turnout, and the accuracy of voting technology.” David Becker, director of Pew's Election Initiatives project, said, “Election officials can use this data to benchmark their own performance over time, and help assess which policies have been working most effectively for their own citizens.”
In 2010, Minnesota ranked #5 with a 74% EPI average falling behind North Dakota, which was ranked #1, followed by Washington, Oregon and Colorado.
Yesterday, Heather Gerken, one of the country’s leading experts on voting rights and election law, the role of groups in the democratic process, and the relationship between diversity and democracy, offered her response to the report on the Election Law Blog: “Indices are incredibly useful tools in the policymaking world. They allow us to spot, surface, and solve problems by making election problems visible to everyone. They help policymakers identify the drivers of performance and sort useful policy needles from a haystack of disparate practices.”
Commenting specifically on the advisors who informed the project, including state and local elections officials, “Election administrators do a very hard job with very few resources. They care deeply about whether they are doing a good job, and they all want to do their jobs better…every time a number was put up on the screen, the room fell silent as the administrators absorbed the results. They talked about where they fell short and why, whether a low ranking was a glitch or trend, whether a high ranking was due to luck or skill. And they began to swap information about how similar problems were addressed or similar practices were used elsewhere. The data generated exactly the kind of conversations that will lay the groundwork for a better-run system. The EPI, in short, is the type of reform that makes bigger, better reform possible.”
Questions? Contact Ann Lindstrom at email@example.com or at 651-281-1261.
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