County-by-County Analysis of Election Administration in the 2012 Election
Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund ranks the best and worst localities for voting access in 17 swing states. The report is the first of its kind, offering a local analysis of the voter experience in the states with the smallest margin of victory between the two presidential candidates in 2012: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
For the 17 swing states, the report identifies the best and worst localities 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 removed from voting rolls
- Provisional ballots cast
- Provisional ballots rejected
- Absentee ballots rejected
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.
“It was disappointing to discover that the quality of a voter’s experience is largely tied to where he or she lives,” said Anna Chu, Policy Director for CAP Action and co-author of the report. “No matter where they live, all Americans deserve to have access to the most fundamental cornerstone of our democratic process. Armed with this new analysis of local election administration, we hope that officials, citizens, and civil rights groups will be able to make the changes necessary to ensure that citizens have equal access to the ballot box, regardless of where they happen to reside.”
“By comparing voter access and experience across localities, officials can determine the best practices for ensuring that citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” said Joshua Field, Deputy Director of Legal Progress and co-author of the report. “We hope that this report will provide insights that can help officials, policymakers, and advocates better understand voting administration practices that work.”
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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