EAVS Data Improving Voter Experience, Driving Research

Jan 18, 2017

Last week, Commissioner Matt Masterson shared how he used data from the Election Administration and Voting Survey when he worked at the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. There he used EAVS data to improve Ohio’s provisional voting. This week, we’ll look at how other stakeholders – other government agencies, academics and interest groups – use the EAVS data to better understand elections.  

Government Agencies: The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) works to ensure military and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote, giving these individuals the tools and resources they need to successfully cast their ballot. In 2014, FVAP and the EAC teamed up to better understand and improve the voting process for military and overseas voters. We combined survey questions related to these voters in Section B of the EAVS, and the FVAP will use the responses to continue to improve procedures moving forward.    

Interest Groups: The U.S. Vote Foundation also focuses on military and overseas voters. They use EAVS data to create data visualizations that show the experience of these voters through the years.  

The Pew Charitable Trusts worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Charles Stewart III to create its Elections Performance Index (EPI), which looks at many measurements of the voting process over time and across all the states. More than half of the indicators used in the EPI are based on EAVS data.

Academics: Academics use EAVS data to drill down into the details of the elections process. For example, Barry Burden at the University of Wisconsin also teamed up with MIT’s Stewart to edit The Measure of American Elections, research that brought together a dozen leading scholars to examine elections across the United States from a data-driven perspective. Several of the authors used EAVS data as an integral part of their examination.

All of the aforementioned stakeholders used the EAVS data to better understand how elections work, to watch for emerging best practices, and to see where there is room to improve the process. With states in the midst of completing the 2016 EAVS, we are excited to see what the numbers show and to see how all who have an interest in election administration will continue to use this important data. 

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