The MIT Election Data and Science Lab established the New Initiatives in Election Science Grants in 2017 to encourage new approaches to the scientific study of elections and election reform. Each year, these grants fund systematic research on the conduct of elections in the United States by scholars around the country.
Applications for New Initiatives Grants are currently closed. Click here for more information about past grants, and sign up for the Lab's newsletter to receive notifications when the application period for grants reopens.
We welcome inquiries about becoming part of MEDSL as an affiliate institution or expert, or simply learning more about what we do. We have career and student research opportunities periodically as well (see below).
MEDSL hosts the Boston/Cambridge Election Science Working Group at MIT, a monthly gathering of faculty, graduate students, and other researchers who are interested in the scientific study of elections. All meetings are on the MIT campus in Room E53-482.
Our lab also sponsors conferences and workshops at MIT and elsewhere throughout the year. Click on an event below for details on date, time and location.
–2018 Election Sciences, Reform, and Administration ConferenceJuly 26–27
The conference brings together political scientists and other experts in election administration to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how law and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States. Participants will identify major questions in the field, share new insights, foster collaboration between election administrators and election scientists, and connect senior and junior scholars.
2018 Pre-APSA Workshop: “Building Better Elections: New Challenges in Electoral Management”August 29
In 2017, election management bodies (EMBs) around the world were confronted with a number of new challenges: presidential elections in Kenya were declared invalid amidst allegations of problems with the electoral commission’s databases and computers; elections in Papua New Guinea were delayed in some areas due to striking poll workers and concerns about the accuracy of the electoral register; and a commission on voter fraud in the United States was thwarted by state electoral officials refusing to release data.
In response to these challenges, researchers from around the globe have renewed their focus on electoral management issues in both domestic and comparative perspective. This workshop aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to discuss major challenges in electoral management, and foster new collaborations.
This workshop invites paper proposals relating to any new challenges of electoral management, including (but not limited to):
- Electoral Technology (biometrics, online registration, e-voting, security and trust)
- Convenience voting measures (postal ballots, early voting, access for disabled and other marginalized voters)
- Regulating new media and campaign finance (the role of electoral officials in regulation and prosecution of violations)
- Electoral dispute resolution (the legal constraints/powers of EMBs and responses to challenged results)
- Protecting electoral security (pre-electoral, election day, vote count both personal and technological)
This workshop will be unique in facilitating the input of practitioners in these scholarly debates by inviting two discussants per panel: one from the scholarly community, and one from the practitioner community, in order to engage in better discussion with those working on the front-lines of electoral management.
This workshop also aims to bring together both American and international scholars. A special round0table will feature leading scholars from both the American and international election sciences community. They will be asked to speak about how the international community has influenced their own work, and present some potential avenues for further collaboration. After this round-table, break-out groups will be made based on major themes, and scholars and practitioners will have the opportunity to network and share their research interests.