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An U.S. Election Assistance Commission blog written by former Commissioner Matthew Masterson

How States Use EAVS Data

Jan 11, 2017

Contrary to popular belief, the beginning of 2017 doesn’t mean the beginning of an "off" year for America’s election officials. Across the country election officials are back in their planning stage, both short and long term.  They are taking lessons learned from 2016 and analyzing how to improve their existing processes and procedures for the next election, and that next election is just around the corner.  Remember, just because it’s not a federal election year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of elections to be run. 

In addition to all of this, election officials are working to collect and submit all of their data for the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey or EAVS.  EAVS is the most comprehensive set of election data available, with over one million data points EAVS collects data about registration, early voting, Election Day and  auditing.

When I was working for Secretary Husted in Ohio, we spent a lot of time looking at our EAVS data in comparison to previous years and other states to see how we could improve.  For instance, after analyzing our data regarding provisional ballots we saw an opportunity to improve the acceptance rate by improving the usability of the provisional ballot form.  Working with Dana Chisnell and the good folks at the Center for Civic Design, we were able to redesign the form to make it more intuitive for voters.  Consequently, after the 2012 election we were able to look at our EAVS data and see an improvement in our provisional ballot acceptance rates because of the modifications made to the form. 

The EAC is working to streamline the EAVS data collection process, to make it easier for election officials to submit accurate and complete data.  We are also working hard to ensure the data is usable for election officials once the report is issued.  The data collected in EAVS can serve as a valuable tool for election officials to use as they analyze 2016 and work to update and improve their laws, processes, procedures and training.