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Election Academy

November 2012

Perfection: Something To Hope For, Not Expect

Every election official hopes to have a perfect Election Day. One county official in New Mexico found out the hard way that expecting perfection isn't the same as planning for it.

Richard Pildes on Early Voting: Do Expectations Affect Court Rulings, Too?

Commentary by NYU's Richard Pildes on judges' treatment of early voting in Ohio and Florida suggests that rising expectations on early voting are beginning to find their way into legal decisions in cases about limiting early voting.

Unintended (or Unanticipated?) Consequences: Pew Examines Roots of Long Lines in Galveston

Galveston, TX's Election Day problems are the subject of Pew's latest Dispatch. It shows that sometimes problems aren't the result of what ISN'T supposed to happen, but rather what law and procedure says IS supposed to happen.

Three Important Nuggets in Newby's Latest ElectionDiary

Brian Newby's latest ElectionDiary includes an extended meditation on capacity issues - and a cautionary note about looking for solutions before the problem is properly defined.

FAST, SIMPLE: A Quick Look at the Two Congressional Election Bills

Two new Congressional election reform bills take very different approaches to addressing the issues and problems that arose on Election Day 2012.

Over the River ...

No blogging this week - I'll return Monday, November 26.

Anna Karenina and Elections: Pew's New Dispatch on Long Lines

Pew's latest Election Data Dispatch looks at all the different reasons why jurisdictions faced long lines on Election Day. The discussion is reminiscent of a famous observation from a classic of Russian literature.

Back of the Envelope: Charles Stewart on Lines in Florida

Charles Stewart of MIT has a new blog post that features a "back of the envelope calculation" about long lines in Florida, using recent federal data and a new proposed formula. The outcome is surprising.

Nationalization of Election Administration: Is That a Thing?

A recent exchange on the New York Times "Room for Debate" page suggests that we are about to have a fierce national debate about the virtues of a nationalized election administration system. I don't see it.

In Case You Missed It: Election Academy Receives NSF Grant to Study Pollworkers' Effect on Election Security

This just in (OK, just in last week): we have received a National Science Foundation grant to study pollworkers' effect on election security.

The Secret to Fixing Long Lines? Math. [Yes, Math.]

As the debate about how to address long Election Day lines continues, it's helpful to remember that at its root the problem is one of simple math.


In the spirit of equal time for good news, a tip of the election geek cap to the people who made Election Day work.

Minnesota's "NO" Vote on Voter ID: What It Means

Minnesota voters just said "no" to a proposed constitutional amendment to require photo ID at the polls. That vote doesn't end the national debate, but it just made the argument for "yes" a lot more complicated.

"We Have to Fix That": Will Long Lines Be the Next Major Focus for Election Reform?

The big story from yesterday's election seems to have been incredibly long lines in many jurisdictions - and many people, including the President, think "we have to fix that." The challenge is to figure out what to fix - and how.

A Quick List of References for Election Day

Here's a quick list of resources as everyone heads out for Election Day.

An Election Geek's Guide to Following Election Day

Ever since 2000 we have watched the nation's election system to see if problems will arise on Election Day. Here's a short viewer's guide based on my experiences over the last 12 years.

OSCE vs. Texas and Iowa: The Facts Behind the Fight

Controversy has erupted about international election observers - and peaked when state officials in Texas and Iowa threatened to arrest them. Here's a little more background.

"The Analogy of Experience": Louisiana's Katrina Lessons for States Affected by Sandy

Louisiana recently shared its experiences - and lessons learned - from conducting elections post-Hurricane Katrina with the states affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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