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Related Topic: Elections

How Do Ballot Curing and Ballot Tracking Affect Election Integrity?

Ballot curing and ballot tracking and curing aren’t just tools for election accuracy but also for enhancing voter confidence and participation.

The Expert

Paul Gronke
Professor of political science, Reed College

Top Two Takeaways

  • By allowing voters to correct errors such as missing or mismatched signatures, states can significantly decrease the number of rejected ballots, which can be pivotal in ensuring every vote is counted.
  • Ballot tracking systems provide voters with the reassurance that their ballots are being processed correctly, similar to knowing luggage is aboard a plane. These systems not only improve transparency but can also increase voter confidence in the electoral system and potentially boost voter turnout.

How Do States Navigate Elections Information Overload?

Providing states with accurate and official election details can come with challenges in today's 24/7 content cycle.

The Expert

Tammy Patrick
CEO, Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials

Top Two Takeaways

  • States can provide voters with official and accurate voting process information through voter guides, sample ballots, and other official notifications that outline key details and are sent directly to voters.
  • Election officials must use clear markers of official communications, such as the United States Postal Service's Official Election Mail logo on mailings and .gov domains for email and websites, to help voters distinguish between official election information and potentially misleading third-party content.

How Does Technology Shape the Voting Experience?

Technology is interwoven into the voting experience, leading to enhancements—but also complications—in the modern voter's journey.

The Expert

Veronica Degraffenreid
Senior manager of strategic partnerships, Brennan Center for Justice

Top Two Takeaways

  • The voter experience today is highly dependent on a complex system of interrelated technologies that manage everything from voter registration to the casting and counting of ballots, as well as post-election processes.
  • The integrity and success of the voting process rely on resilient election systems with built-in redundancies, comprehensive election security measures, and well-trained, adequately funded election professionals.

Do Poll Watchers Increase Voter Confidence?

Poll watchers have become focal points in discussions about electoral integrity and voter trust. But can these observers make a difference in how Americans trust their votes are being counted?

The Expert

Lauren Prather
Associate professor of international relations, UC San Diego

Top Two Takeaways

  • The presence of nonpartisan observers, both domestic and international, can increase voter confidence in the election process when these observers are perceived as unbiased and competent.
  • In contrast, the involvement of partisan poll watchers tends to decrease voter confidence in the United States.

Does Absentee/Mail Voting Benefit One Party Over the Other?

As no-excuse mail voting gains popularity, researchers are taking a close look at electoral behavior.

The Expert

Paul Gronke
Professor of political science, Reed College

Top Two Takeaways

  • Absentee and mail voting methods do not show evidence of providing a systematic advantage to one political party over another.
  • The effects of messaging from political figures can influence voter behavior and confidence, but this impact is complex and varies by demographic and geographic factors.

How Are States Addressing Election Workforce Issues?

U.S. election workforce issues are emerging as a challenge amidst increasing responsibilities and politically driven attacks, and states are navigating these turbulent times for election officials with new strategies.

The Expert

Tammy Patrick
CEO, Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials

Top Two Takeaways

  • States are responding to high turnover rates and workforce shortages by implementing mentorship programs, weekly discussions, and other support systems to ensure a uniform understanding of election processes and provide necessary resources.
  • The importance of professional development through training and certification programs is a vital component of election officials' ability to face challenges.

What Does It Mean to Audit an Election?

Election audits are instrumental in detecting voting system errors and providing accountability through evidence.

The Expert

Jennifer Morrell
CEO and co-founder, The Elections Group

Top Two Takeaways

  • Providing clear written standards to election administration processes helps ensure accuracy, compliance and trust in the democratic system. 
  • Comprehensive, transparent election audits play a critical role in detecting errors, providing accountability, deterring fraud, and offering feedback for process improvement, with the goal of enhancing public confidence in election outcomes.    

What Actions Might Draw Election Lawsuits in the Coming Year?

As the U.S. gears up for the 2024 elections, litigation surrounding absentee ballots, in-person voting, transparency in election results and more remain looming concerns for states.

The Expert

Jason Torchinsky
Partner, Holtzman Vogel Law Firm, Washington, D.C.

Top Two Takeaways

  • Adjusting absentee ballot request and return deadlines to better align with postal service delivery standards is crucial to avoid disenfranchising voters and prevent litigation.
  • States may consider legislative measures to improve transparency and the timely reporting of election results. This includes providing more pre-processing time for absentee ballots to expedite result tabulation and offering regular updates on outstanding ballots.

Given Federal Law, How Can We Maintain Clean Voter Rolls?

As states navigate the calendar of maintaining up-to-date voter lists, they often face challenges when it comes to ensuring clean voter rolls within the boundaries of federal law.

The Expert

Don Palmer
Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Top Two Takeaways

  • The importance of conducting regular list maintenance cannot be overstated, as up-to-date voter rolls are essential to prevent irregularities and issues such as congestion or long lines at polling places, voters going to the wrong polling place, and the overuse of provisional ballots. 
  • Additional resources and the use of new technology for list accuracy are critical to achieachievingn voter rolls, particularly during high-volume election periods like presidential elections.    

What’s the Role of Artificial Intelligence in Elections?

AI has been in the news a lot lately, but it’s important to remember that the technology has been part of our daily lives for decades. Still, while it’s not new, AI has seen significant developments. And in election administration, it has the potential to transform the way voters access information.

The Expert

Charles Stewart III
MIT political science professor
Director, MIT Election Data + Science Lab

Top Two Takeaways

  • AI can be trained to provide accurate information, such as polling locations, but also presents challenges with misinformation and disinformation.
  • AI promises to deliver improved innovative tools for election administration, improving resource allocation and enhancing signature verification processes.

How Can States Improve In-Person Voting?

In-person voting technology has come a long way in the past few decades, but while vote wait times have declined, there’s room for improvement through strategic resource allocation and making data-informed decisions with engineering tools and statistical analysis.

The Expert

Gretchen Macht
University of Rhode Island associate professor of engineering
Director, URI VOTES and the Sustainable Innovative Solutions Lab

Top Two Takeaways

  • Sophisticated data analysis and simulation tools can predict challenges in the voting process before they happen.
  • State-specific rules and regulations should guide the arrangement of voting equipment, lines and space layouts to ensure an efficient experience for voters.

What Does the Electoral Count Reform Act Mean for States?

The ECRA aims to eliminate the ambiguities and outdated language of its 1877 predecessor, and revise aspects of the electoral vote process, from casting and counting votes to the presidential transition.

The Expert

Ben Williams
NCSL associate director of Elections and Redistricting Program

Top Two Takeaways

  • Updating an 1877 law, the Electoral Account Reform Act of 2022 replaces ambiguous provisions, including identifying a single, conclusive slate of electors.
  • States have a say in identifying who sends their slate of electors forward—the governor, or another officer.

What’s Going On With Cybersecurity in Elections?

In the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. elections, a critical concern for officials nationwide is cybersecurity. With high-profile incidents and the spread of misinformation, the integrity of the election process has never been more scrutinized.

The Expert

Ben Hovland
Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Top Two Takeaways

  • Federal agencies like the U.S. Election Assistance Commission can provide resources, best practices and training to help election officials enhance cybersecurity.
  • Innovative state programs demonstrate the importance of adapting cybersecurity measures to meet the diverse needs of jurisdictions.

How Can We Increase Young Voter Turnout?

To overcome low turnout by voters ages 30 and younger, some states are looking to policy options such as automatic voter registration and preregistration.

The Expert

Charles Stewart III
MIT political science professor
Director, MIT Election Data + Science Lab

Top Two Takeaways

  • Automatic voter registration captures young voters during routine government interactions, such as obtaining a driver's license, helping to maintain accurate voter rolls.
  • Preregistration initiatives ensure young citizens are ready to vote as soon as they turn 18, boosting engagement and making them visible to campaign outreach efforts.
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