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Election Academy

October 2011

Slow News Day

Election Day's approach means a temporary pause in election administration news. We'll take the hint and be back tomorrow.

Voting Information Project Launches Gadgets for 2011 Elections

As Election Day approaches, the smart folks at the Voting Information Project are starting to release state-specific "gadgets" to help voters navigate the process. They also have a snazzy new video that explains how it all works. Check it out!

Colorado Secret Ballot Battle: Can You Collect Too Much Data?

The Colorado fight over inspection of voted ballots took another twist when clerks argued that data they already collect could be used to compromise the secrecy of individual ballots. It's an interesting story - and one which could recur in other states.

Everything I Need to Know About Ballots I Learned In ... GRAD SCHOOL? Readability as Usability

A new Pew Election Data Dispatch looks at the readability of state ballot language. The results suggests the election community has a ways to go to make ballots clearer to voters.

Patch of Heaven: Local News Network a Gold Mine for Election Geeks

In an era where local election administration news gets increasingly harder to come by, the Patch.com network is a treasure trove of details about the voting process nationwide.

Talk Democracy to Me: Smartphones and the Next Generation of Voting

Voice is the new frontier for communicating with mobile devices. This post looks at a few new developments in the field of smartphone development and assesses their potential value for the field of elections.

Did You Forget Something? Mississippi's Missing Ballot Language Prompts Scramble

Missing ballot language in Mississippi about the fiscal impact of voter ID and other initiatives has state and local election officials scrambling to complete voters' ballot content before Election Day.

Crowd-Geeking the New Military Voting Report

New military voting data released this week presents the most complete snapshot to date of how well the election system works for these voters. I asked a few election geeks for an analysis of the data - and what they told me was fascinating.

Election Officials as Grenade Catchers: A Case Study from Connecticut

Being an election official is sometimes a lonely business - especially when circumstances conspire to put you at the center of a heated dispute, as one Connecticut clerk is finding out.

No "Twitter Jitters" Here - Election Officials Get Social Media

A recent Politico piece looked at K Street's struggles to adopt (and adapt to) social media. Election offices are already making their way down that learning curve.

Wait ... What? The Need for Usability in Election Materials

The latest twist in the Cuyahoga absentee voting saga finds voters confused by the design of ballots. This post examines the issue of usability and makes the case that election officials need to become more attentive to the science of "how people use stuff."

"Supposing is Good, But Finding Out is Better": The Value of Observational Data In Election Research

Madison, WI's recent mock election to test the effects of the new voter ID law is an excellent example of how observational data - and the effort to collect it - can pay dividends for election officials, pollworkers and voters alike.

New Minority Language Data Resets Environment for Voting Assistance in 2012

New data on minority languages was released yesterday which will form the basis for requirements for language assistance in elections in jurisdictions across the nation. This post takes a preliminary look at the data as well as a look ahead at its impact.

The Empty Mailbox: Why Aren't Election Offices Responding to EAC Data Requests?

A new EAC report on military and overseas voting has given the election geek world a new wealth of data to analyze. This post, though, looks at the holes that still exist in the data and asks what can be done to improve response rates.

Taking a Short Fall Break ...

Taking a short break - back Wednesday October 12!

Student Voting: An Opportunity, Not a Problem

Student voters are once again a source of controversy. This post suggests that the challenge students pose is not inherent to their status as students but rather the result of the inability of registration systems to keep pace with America's growing mobility.

Thorny Issue - or Briar Patch? SC Counties Drive a Hard Bargain on Presidential Primary

Recent stories have examined the trend toward de-emphasizing local government, which could signal a profound change in election administration. But South Carolina's experience with the 2012 presidential primary suggests localities will not go quietly - or cheaply.

Let's Be Careful Out There: Election Officials' New Role as Voter Protection Advocates

Recent stories in West Virginia and Louisiana highlight the growing need for election officials to act to protect voters. This post discusses some tools and tactics that can help.

Two Life Lessons for Election Administrators in the Wisconsin GAB Waukesha Report

A recent Wisconsin report cleared Waukesha clerk Kathy Nickolaus of criminal wrongdoing in the mishandling of election returns in the April 2011 Supreme Court race. Yet the report still holds some key lessons for anyone in the high-profile job of election administration.

More Fun with Numbers: Another (Inflation-Adjusted) Look at the North Dakota Cost Data

This post uses inflation data to adjust the North Dakota election costs we discussed last week to constant 2010 dollars. The results are a little surprising - and raise other questions about what was happening to affect election costs during that time.

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