If there are two things I am passionate about they are election reform and interactive infographics. So I just about squealed over the Pew Charitable Trust's Election Initiative's Elections Performance Index when it was released earlier this week.
The EPI measures states's overall election administration performance based on 17 criteria: Absentee Ballots Rejected, Provisional Ballots Rejected, Absentee Ballots Unreturned, Registration or Absentee Ballot Problems, Data Completeness, Registrations Rejected, Disability- or Illness-Related Voting Problems, Turnout, Military and Overseas Ballots Rejected, Voter Registration Rate, Military and Overseas Ballots Unreturned, Voting Information Look-Up Tools Available, Online Registration Available, Voting Technology Accuracy, Post-election Audit Required, Voting Wait Time and Provisional Ballots Cast.
The data is illuminating. For instance, did you know that 3% of (non-provisional or absentee) ballots in West Virginia don't get counted? Ruh Roh. But it's poor old Mississippi at the very bottom of the list. They really need to be first in something good and soon. Wisconsin is at the top of the pack. There are a lot of really sexy infographics to choose from, but I am linking to this interactive graph that lets you sort states by any combination of criteria, shows which criteria were most important in each state and ahh well...it's just divine. I will let you check it out for yourself. Click around the rest of the report too.
Charles Stewart III, an MIT Political Science Professor whose research created the basis for the EPI analyzed some of his findings in this interview.
"States with election-day registration have more people registered to vote … [and] people in those states are less likely to say that they had registration problems that kept them from voting. Jurisdictions that have electronic voting machines tend to have longer lines than those with optical scanners."
Enjoy! I'm going to go back to nerding out.