New County-by-County Analysis of Indiana’s Election Administration in the 2012 Election
Washington, D.C. – The Indiana counties with the worst voting access are Tippecanoe, LaGrange, and Jennings, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The report identifies Indiana’s best and worst performers for voting access and voter experience by looking at six factors that reflect voters’ ability to participate in the democratic process: voter turnout, overall voter registration rate, rate of registered voters purged from voting rolls, provisional ballots cast, provisional ballots rejected, and absentee ballots rejected.
In addition to examining Indiana’s worst election offenders, the report offers county-by-county analysis of 16 other swing states—states with the smallest margin of victory between the two presidential candidates in 2012: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The report finds that with election administration delegated to officials and boards in more than 3,000 counties and localities in the United States, the ease with which one exercises his or her right to vote can depend on where he or she lives. This pattern played out in every state that was analyzed.
Key findings from the report include:
- The election performance results were poor in Tippecanoe County across multiple factors. For instance, Tippecanoe County had the highest rate of provisional ballots cast in the state—seven times higher than the state average. Tippecanoe also had the second-highest rate of absentee ballots and the second-highest rate of voters removed from the voting lists. Additionally, Tippecanoe had the 5th-worst voter turnout rate and the 16th-worst voter registration rate. Tippecanoe County’s poor rankings across so many factors raises questions about the administration of the elections in the county as well as voters’ low level of participation in the democratic system.
- LaGrange County also fared poorly on several factors. It had the worst registration and voter turnout rates in the state and rejected all provisional ballots cast in the county.
- Finally, Jennings County performed very poorly on two factors. It had the 3rd-highest rate of absentee ballots rejected and the 13th-worst rate of provisional ballots cast.
The report’s findings provide insights that can help officials, policymakers, and advocates better understand voting administration practices that work. By comparing voter access and experience across Indiana’s counties, officials can determine the best practices for ensuring that citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process.
Read the report: Unequal Access: A County-by-County Analysis of Election Administration in Swing States in the 2012 Election by Anna Chu, Joshua Field, and Charles Posner
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