American Elections: A Critical Moment for Research and Reform
Working Paper No.:  29
Date Published:  2008-11-30


R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology


The 2004 election provided important lessons regarding the performance of voting technology, about continuing problems with voter registration and provisional balloting, issues with procedures and poll site voting practices, and raised questions about the liberalization of early and absentee voting. There are a series of important issues that should be the focus of the election research and reform agenda in coming years:

  • Developing and implementing statewide voter registration databases
  • Improving poll site practices
  • Should ballot casting be tied to geography?
  • Electronic voting security, integrity, and reliability
  • Internet registration and voting
  • Achieving a more open and auditable election administration process
  • Understanding the preferences and perceptions of the consumers of election administration products -- citizens and voters


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