NCSL Rolls Out Database of Elections Research



New Searchable Database Aims to Provide Quick and Easy Access to Virtually all Research on Elections Processes

DENVER—Nearly 2,000 reports on virtually every aspect of managing elections are available on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) new Elections Administration Research Database. This publicly available resource brings together most of the existing reports, research, best practices and analysis on elections.

Voter registration, verification and turnout, long lines at the polls, cost-effective elections, pre-Election Day voting, polling place organization, and the unique needs of military and disabled voters are just some of the topics covered in the database. Most of the research comes from reports published since 2000, with at least 100 documents from 2014. Each report has been coded by subject, title, author, publication, date and state and can be located by one or a combination of these features.

The database is meant to serve as a tool for anyone interested in the elections process, especially NCSL’s members—state legislators and staff. State lawmakers introduced more than 2,300 bills related to elections in 2013 and 2014.

"Not a year goes by when state legislatures don’t consider ways to improve the elections process,” said Maryland Delegate Jon S. Cardin (D), who chairs the Election Law Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. “NCSL’s Elections Research Database now allows them one-stop shopping for any data they need to learn about best practices and make informed decisions.”

Funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, NCSL's elections team spent six months gathering and categorizing the reports from government, academic, nonprofit and private sources.

Wendy Underhill, elections program manager at NCSL, says the database is an ongoing project. NCSL’s elections staff is seeking any reports it may have missed and will continue to add data as it becomes available.

 “Our goal is to be comprehensive,” she says. “If you've got an elections question, it's likely one of the reports in the database has an answer."

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.