Deepening the Field of Election Science

Resources for teaching election science classes
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Over the years, there has been a discussion about starting up a database for people who teach election science classes, along with starting a collection of teaching aids to assist in teaching such classes.

We have begun to compile this database here, and hope it will continue to grow. We invite anyone who teaches a class in election science, and who would like to share their own resources, to reach out to us.


Election science, for our purposes here, is defined as the analysis of election administration, voting, and reform using quantitative tools drawn from statistics, engineering, and the social sciences. It is related to, but distinct from, the study of public opinion and elections, to the degree that election science attempts to understand the institutional and administrative contexts in which opinion is formed and elections campaigns are waged.  It is also distinct from election law, to the degree that election science is rooted primarily in the social sciences.


American Elections and How They Work

(Matt Lamb, Spring 2023. Texas Tech University)

About: The aftermath of the 2020 election brought new attention to issues of election administration and the heated political rhetoric regarding whether different modes of voting give an advantage to one party over the other has dominated many a news cycle. In this course, we will cut through the rhetoric and discuss what objective research has to say about how, or whether, elections work in the United States. 


Elections, American Style

(Paul Gronke, Fall 2021. Reed College)

About: This class covers only a slice of what is one of the most dynamic areas of study in political science—democratic decision-making via the election process. [...] What we do cover here are the main elements of election administration in the United States, the officials who administer elections, and how their administrative choices impact the voting behavior of citizens.


Elections and Voting Behavior

(Barry Burden, Fall 2020. University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • About: This course takes place amid the heat of the 2020 presidential campaign. We will do our best to make sense of what is happening in this election cycle by taking a wider view of U.S. elections that puts current events in focus.


US Elections: Rules, Strategies, and Outcomes

(Eitan Hersh, Fall 2020. Tufts University)

  • About: This course examines election laws and political campaigns in the United States. The overall focus of the class will be on how rules, including the US Constitution, public policies, and party norms, affect the ways that strategic campaigns pursue voters.


Elections by the Numbers

(Charles Stewart, Fall 2020. Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • About: The purpose of this class is to introduce students to elections, especially presidential elections, with a focus on data analysis. The context of this class is the 2020 presidential election. Through a series of readings, lectures, and class assignments, we will examine a variety of topics that arise during elections. Among these topics are election forecasting, public opinion, election fraud, election reform, voting technologies, and gerrymandering.


Elections and Election Administration

(Martha Kropf, Spring 2020. University of North Carolina - Charlotte)

  • About: A senior seminar exploring a selected topic in the discipline, including writing a research paper and presenting the results to the class.


Election Reform in America

(Barry Burden, Spring 2019. University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • About: Election rules and administration is one area of public policy where there are abundant ideas for reform. From the campaign finance regulations to legislative districting to voter identification, there is no shortage of proposals for improvement. [...] This seminar immerses students in debates about election reforms and provides tools for evaluating the claims made by advocates on each side.


Analyzing Elections with Exit Polls

(Martha Kropf, Fall 2018. University of North Carolina - Charlotte)

  • About: This is a service learning course wherein you will learn that elections are not just about campaigns and the politics of candidate communication. [...] The process [of an election] affects how voters feel about it. That's why we are analyzing how voters in Mecklenburg County feel about the election. We will conduct surveys here during early voting and on election day in order to evaluate voter satisfaction.


Elections and Voting Technology

(Charles Stewart & Ron Rivest, Fall 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • About: This class explored challenges embedded in election systems from both the technical and the political science perspective — providing students with new insights into the complexities of a system many thought they understood.


Making American Democracy Work: Elections, Election Reform, and Voting Technology

(Charles Stewart, Fall 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • About: The purpose of this class is to explore the social science literature across a variety of legal, administrative, and technological topics related to voting in the United States.