2008 Presidential Election

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

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 Data-Centered Look at the Election of 2008

Working Paper No.: 
88
Date Published: 
09/01/2009
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT
My expertise is in trying to use data to identify where election problems lie in America, especially at a broad level --- such as comparing states with each other or comparing counties with each other. I know that the purpose of today’s conference is to think about LA County, but there are lessons to be learned from looking across the country. So, what I thought I would do today is look at the election of 2008 to ask what do the data tell us about the experience of voters nationwide on Election Day?

2008 Survey of the Performance of American Elections

Working Paper No.: 
81
Date Published: 
07/01/2009
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT
Survey Background • Gauging the quality of the voting experience • Research design – 200 respondents contacted in every state, or 10,000 total – Survey in the field the week following Nov. 4 – Pilot surveys conducted on in Nov. ’07 and Super Tuesday ’08 – Parallel nationwide survey • Limited set of questions • 32,800 total respondents

Voting Technology and Innovation

Working Paper No.: 
78
Date Published: 
04/01/2009
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
University of Utah
The 2008 election was different from the last two presidential elections in that there was a clear winner on Election Day and the winner was a Democrat, Barack Obama. Controversies over voting technology that raged in 2000 and 2004 were relatively dormant. Instead, the election controversies that did come up were mostly discussions of lines to vote.1 This lack of discussion does not mean that there were not important issues related to voting technology that took place in 2008, just that they were not things deemed important by the media.

Voter Attitudes Toward Poll Workers in the 2008 Election

Working Paper No.: 
77
Date Published: 
04/01/2009
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
University of Utah
At a conference on election reform held by the National Academies of Science in 2004, Indiana’s Secretary of State, Todd Rokita, referred to poll workers as “the street level lawyers” of elections. The reason for his statement was obvious: poll workers, in polling places, are the people who determine how well an election is run and have the power over its implementation (Alvarez and Hall 2006; Claassen, Magleby, Monson, and Patterson 2008; Hall, Monson, and Patterson, forthcoming).

Is There Racial Discrimination at the Polls? Voters' Experience in the 2008 Election

Working Paper No.: 
73
Date Published: 
03/01/2009
Author(s): 
Stephen Ansolabehere
Harvard University
In 1965, the United States Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act to end discrimination against black voters at the polls in Southern states and throughout the nation. The Act prohibited the use of “tests” and other devices used to prevent people from voting. At issue was not the content of tests themselves but the wide latitude available to those charged with registering and authenticating voters.
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