About ESRA

The 5th annual Election Sciences, Reform, and Administration conference took place virtually from July 19-21, 2021.

The Election Sciences, Reform, and Administration (ESRA) conference brings together election experts from academia, state and local government, non-profits, and research institutes to develop empirical approaches to the study of how law and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States.

The conference is an opportunity for participants to engage with cutting-edge research about election administration and to discuss the challenges facing state and local election officials. The conference’s collaborative atmosphere also fosters connections between election administrators and election scientists, as between junior and senior scholars.

Program Committee

The 2021 ESRA conference was hosted by the MIT Election Data + Science Lab. The program co-chairs are:

Previous Conferences

The ESRA Conference has been held every year since 2017. View previous conference programs and details here:

Conference Program

The conference was held virtually July 19 – July 21.  The conference kicked off with a keynote address on Monday, July 19 by NASS President and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. The following two days featured discussions, presentation of research, and opportunities to connect with other academics and practitioners. Full schedule details are listed below; along with links to posters, papers, and other conference materials.

  • July 19, 2021

    7:00pm. Keynote address. Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico's Secretary of State and NASS President, will kick off the ESRA Conference.

  • July 20, 2021

    11:00am - 12:00pm. Roundtable: Trust and Confidence

    • Ryan Germany (Georgia Secretary of State)
    • Greg Huber (Yale University)
    • Brianna Lennon (Boone County, Missouri)
    • Matt Masterson (Stanford Internet Observatory)
    • David Stafford (Escambia County, Florida)
    • Charles Stewart III (MIT)

    12:00 - 1:00pm. Poster Session 1

    Graduate to Voter: Texas High School Voter Registration

    • Brandon Rottinghaus (University of Houston); Amanda Austin (University of Houston); Jeronimo Cortina (University of Houston; Syed Naqvi (University of Houston); Naomi Nubin (University of Houston)

    The Confidence Earthquake: Seismic Shifts in Trust and Reform Sentiment in the 2020 Election [ paper ]

    • Charles Stewart III (MIT); Jesse Clark (Princeton)

    Increasing Election Administration Funds to Open Polling Places Leads to Higher Voter Turnout

    • Christian Grose (University of Southern California)

    The Formation of Public Opinion Around Elections and Electoral Integrity [ paper ]

    • Jesse Clark (Princeton)

    Minority Populations, Republicans and the Cost of Voting Index [ paper ]

    • Michael J Pomante II (Jacksonville University); Scot Schraufnagel (Northern Illinois University); Quan Li (Wuhaun University)

    The Cost of Voting and the Underrepresented [ paper ]

    • Scot Schraufnagel (Northern Illinois University); Michael J. Pomante II (Jacksonville University); Quan Li (Wuhan University)

    In Person We Trust? A Study of Voting Methods in Colorado

    • Seo-young Silvia Kim (American University); Akhil Bandreddi (American University); R. Michael Alvarez (California Institute of Technology)

    The Role of Attribution in How Voters React to Election Day Problems

    • Logan T. Woods (University of Michigan)

    Assessing the Impact of Local Election Timing on Racial Minority Candidate Success

    • Zoltan Hajnal (University of California - San Diego); Vlad Kogan (Ohio State); Agustin Markarian (UCSD)

    1:00 - 2:30pm. Lightning Round 1

    Comparing Elite and Public Opinion on Election Administration and Reform [ paper ]

    • Anita Manion (University of Missouri-St. Louis); David Kimball (University of Missouri-St. Louis); Adriano Udani (University of Missouri-St. Louis); Joseph Anthony (Oklahoma State University); Paul Gronke (Reed College); Jay Lee (Reed College)

    Do Post-election Audits Increase Confidence in Elections?

    • Christian R. Grose; (University of Southern California); Nathan Micatka (University of Iowa)

    Measuring Election Confidence in 2020

    • Colin Jones (Rice University); Lonna Atkeson (University of New Mexico); Trey Hood III (UGA); Mason Reece (Rice); Robert Stein (Rice)

    Public Support for Overturning Election Outcomes

    • Devin McCarthy (American Civil Liberties Union)

    Partisan Poll Watchers and Americans' Beliefs about Electoral Integrity

    • Geoffrey Sheagley (University of Georgia); Mollie J. Cohen (University of Georgia)

    One Shift, Two Shifts, Red Shift, Blue Shift: Reported Election Returns in the 2020 Election [ paper ]

    • John Curiel (MIT Election Lab); Charles Stewart III (MIT); Jack R Williams (MIT)

    Monitors and Meddlers: How Foreign Actors Influence Local Trust in Elections

    • Lauren Prather (UC San Diego); Sarah Bush (Yale University)

    Measuring Policy Mood for Election Reform [ paper ]

    • Caroline Tolbert (University of Iowa); Joseph Coll (University of Iowa) Michael Ritter (Washington State University)

    2:30 - 3:00pm. Social Hour

  • July 21, 2021

    11:00am - 12:00pm. Roundtable: Election Administration in 2020 and Beyond

    • Joe Gloria (Clark County, NV)
    • Paul Gronke (Reed College)
    • Scott Jarrett (Maricopa County, AZ)
    • Gretchen Macht (University of Rhode Island)
    • Jennifer Morrell (The Elections Group)
    • Al Schmidt (City of Philadelphia)
    • Meagan Wolfe (Wisconsin Elections Commission)

    12:00 - 1:00pm. Poster Session 2

    Terrible Turnout and Lazy Legislators: The Effects of Gerrymandering on Turnout and Productivity

    • Aryanna Hyde (University of Missouri); Edwin Santana (University of Missouri)

    Redistricting and Spatial Predictions of Candidate Emergence

    • Corwin D. Smidt (Michigan State University)

    How Partisan Is Local Election Administration?

    • Daniel M Thompson (UCLA); Joshua Ferrer (UCLA); Igor Geyn (UCLA)

    How Did Absentee Voting Affect the 2020 U.S. Election? [ paper ]

    • Jesse Yoder (Stanford University); Cassandra Handan-Nader (Stanford University); Andrew Myers (Stanford University); Tobias Nowacki (Stanford University); Jennifer A. Wu (Stanford University); Chenoa Yorgason (Stanford University); Andrew B. Hall (Stanford University); Daniel M. Thompson (UCLA)

    Validating the Applicability of BISG to Congressional Redistricting [ paper ]

    • John Curiel (MIT Election Lab); Kevin DeLuca (Harvard Kennedy School of Government)

    Don’t Dismiss Digital Immigrants: Poll Workers and New Election Technologies

    • Melissa R. Michelson (Menlo College); Dari S. Tran (University of the Pacific); Stephanie L DeMora (University of California, Riverside)

    Exploring Equity in the VBM Signature Verification Process

    • Paul Gronke (Reed College); Jay Lee (Reed College); Jian Cao (California Institute of Technology); Michael Alvarez (California Institute of Technology)

    A Republic if You Can Afford It: How Much Does It Cost to Administer an Election?

    • Martha Kropf (University of North Carolina at Charlotte); Zachary Mohr (University of North Carolina at Charlotte); JoEllen V. Pope (Independent Researcher); Mary Jo McGowan (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

    1:00pm - 2:00pm. Lunch

    How Data Can Solve the Elections Resource Allocation Problem

    • Rachel Orey (Bipartisan Policy Center)

    United States Local Elections Dataset

    • Chris Warshaw (George Washington University); Justin de Benedictis-Kessner (Harvard Kennedy School of Government); Dan Thompson (UCLA); Yamil Velez (Columbia University)

    An Automated System to Ease Consolidation of Election Results from Diverse Jurisdictions

    • Stephanie F. Singer (Portland State University)

    Federal Sources of Election Administration Data

    • Lindsay Nielson (Fors Marsh Group)

    Using Data Science to Create Election Science

    • Martha Kropf (University of North Carolina at Charlotte); Jason Windett (University of North Carolina at Charlotte); Samira Shaikh (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

    2:00 - 3:30pm. Lightning round 2

    Invalid Signature Rejections in Georgia Absentee Voting: Comparing the 2020 General to the 2021 Senate Runoff [ paper ]

    • Clint Swift (VoteShield / Protect Democracy); Delaney Gomen (VoteShield / Protect Democracy)

    How to Retain Election Officials to Secure Future Elections

    • David Levine (Alliance for Securing Democracy, The German Marshall Fund of the United States)

    The Partisan Costs of Automatic Voter Registration

    • Ellen C. Seljan (Lewis & Clark College); Todd Lochner (Lewis & Clark College)

    Poll Worker Experience and Election Administration

    • Joshua D. Hostetter (The Citadel); Lonna Atkeson (University of New Mexico)

    Naked Ballots in the 2020 Presidential Election: Evidence from Philadelphia

    • Marc Meredith (University of Pennsylvania); Dan Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania; Nathaniel Olin (City of Philadelphia); Tiffany Tse (City of Philadelphia)

    Evaluating how State Election Administrations and Voting Laws Shape Voter Turnout in the 2006 to 2020 Midterm and Presidential Elections

    • Michael Ritter (Washington State University); Joseph Coll (University of Iowa)

    Local Election Officials, Voter Education, and the Impact on Prospective Voters: How Local Election Officials Use Face-to-Face Outreach and Social Media for Voter Education [ paper ]

    • Thessalia Merivaki (Mississippi State University); Mara Suttmann-Lea (Connecticut College)

    Analyzing the Effects of a Switch to By-District Elections in California [ paper ]

    • Zachary L. Hertz (Tufts University)

    Can Voter Suppression Increase Electoral Bias? An Analysis of US House Elections, 1840 - 2018 [ paper ]

    • Bernard Tamas (Valdosta State University)

    Causal Effect of Sending Mail-In Ballots to All Registered Voters on Voter Turnout and Composition: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment

    • Yimeng Li (California Institute of Technology); R. Michael Alvarez (California Institute of Technology)

    The Representational Consequences of Ballot Design: Evidence from Electronic Voting Reform

    • Carolina Tchintian (CIPPEC); Santiago Alles (Voxel Consulting); Tiffany Barnes (University of Kentucky)

Guidelines for Presenters

As this year's ESRA Conference is a virtual event, we've created a few guidelines to help the technological side of each session run smoothly and provide a seamless experience for all registrants.

Poster submission guidelines

  • Please submit your poster in Powerpoint (preferred) or LaTeX
    • If you are working in another file format, get in touch so we can confirm we are able to work with and access that type of file
  • Minimum width: 1000px
  • Minimum height: 600px
  • Maximum file size: 3mb (zip and compress your file if it exceeds 3MB)
  • No transparent backgrounds
  • Poster orientation: Landscape (long sides on top and bottom)
  • Send your poster to the email below before Friday, July 16.

Lightning ROUND Guidelines

  • Each presenter/team will be limited to 7 minutes
  • Each presenter/team may have up to 4 slides total
  • Each presenter/team will have 1 question from the audience

Time will be strictly enforced.




For more information + questions, please contact
Claire DeSoi