New County-by-County Analysis of Minnesota’s Election Administration in the 2012 Election
Washington, D.C. – The Minnesota counties with the worst voting access are Polk, Pine, and Nobles, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The report identifies Minnesota’s best and worst performers for voting access and voter experience by looking at four 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, and absentee ballots rejected.
In addition to examining Minnesota’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, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, 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:
- Polk, Pine, and Nobles counties all occupied the worst three ranks in the state for voter registration and voter turnout rates, raising questions as to why the three counties had such poor voter participation.
- The three counties also fared poorly on the rate of absentee ballots rejected and the rate of voters removed from the voter rolls. Out of the Minnesota counties that were analyzed, Polk and Pine were among the top 11 worst counties on the rate of absentee ballots rejected—Polk was 4th worst in the state while Pine was 11th worst. Meanwhile, all three counties were in the top 15 worst counties based on the rate of voters removed from the voter rolls—Nobles was 7th worst, Polk was 9th worst, and Pine was 14th worst.
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 Minnesota’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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