Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Missouri’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access
Press Release

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Missouri’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access

New County-by-County Analysis of Missouri’s Election Administration in the 2012 Election

Washington, D.C. – The Missouri counties with the worst voting access are DeKalb, Jackson, and Pulaski, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The report identifies Missouri’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 Missouri’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, Minnesota, 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:

  • Jackson was the worst on both voter registration and voter turnout, Pulaski the second worst, and DeKalb the third worst on the two factors. This raises the question as to whether the views of residents in the three counties are fully reflected through the electoral process.
  • Additionally, DeKalb had the worst rate of absentee ballots rejected in the state—nearly six and a half times higher than the state average. Meanwhile, Jackson had the 12th-worst rate of absentee ballots rejected and Pulaski had the 18th-worst rate.
  • Jackson and Pulaski counties also had high rates of voters removed from the voter rolls. Jackson was the 6th worst and Pulaski was the 13th worst. In particular, Jackson’s rate was nearly twice that of the state average.

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 Missouri’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

To speak with experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at or 202.741.6277.