As part of the Mapping Election Administration and Election Science initiative, we are happy to make available the full reference lists from each white paper. 

These lists represent a fairly comprehensive literature review of the existing research on each issue, and we look forward to keeping them updated as new resources come to fruition. 

  • Voting in person

    Despite the rising popularity of mail voting, in-person voting remains the most common mode of voting in the U.S.  In-person voting remains an overwhelmingly positive experience, but gaps in performance remain in geographically identifiable places and among voters of particular demographics.  The expansion of Election Day vote centers creates a new in-person voting context in which research findings have not been consolidated.  The growth in the use of ballot marking devices and the controversy that attends this expansion leads to the need for rigorous research into how this method of voting can be accurate and secure.

    Go here for the full list. 

  • Voting by mail

    “Vote by mail” (VBM) or “Mail voting” is a permanent part of the American election ecosystem.  The rate of mail voting has tripled since 2000, and mail ballots now constitute a third of ballots returned (half in the pandemic election of 2020).  Importantly, a large percentage of ballots mailed to voters are returned in person. This research documents the emergence and growth of mail balloting and details the unique administrative arrangements associated with this method of voting, related research and best practices, and areas where there is still more to learn.  (Voting by uniformed and overseas citizens—“UOCAVA” voters—is a special case not focused on in this report.)

    Go here for the full list. 

  • Voter registration accuracy and security

    Voter registration lists are critical to managing elections, but keeping them updated can be challenging. Because voter registration is often self-initiated and decentralized, many eligible voters are unregistered or have outdated registration records. Compounding the issues, registrations are tied to residential addresses, but it is difficult for election officials to know when or where registrants move. Much of the foundational research on voter registration is outdated and insufficient, further highlighting the need for advancing a research agenda that fosters coordinated partnerships between academics, officials, and civic organizations. 

    Go here for the full list. 

  • Usability and accessibility

    People with disabilities, senior citizens, Native Americans, rural citizens, and young citizens face a variety of barriers to voting.  There has been varying levels of research and established best practices related to these barriers, and substantial gaps remain in several areas. 

    Go here for the full list. 

  • Audits and validating election results

    Election auditing is an independent review of a process of system to ensure compliance with election laws, policies, and standards.  Audits should demonstrate with evidence the reliability and validity of the counting processes and underlying fairness and security of the election ecosystem, including:

    • that ballots were correctly created, issued, and accounted for,
    • that only eligible voters participated in the elections,
    • that voting systems count votes accurately, and
    • that election officials comply with federal, state, and local laws, regulations and policies.

    Go here for the full list. 

  • Communicating with voters to build trust in the system

    The stability of democracy depends in part on public belief in the legitimacy of elections.  Attitudes toward elections are based on people’s experiences and what they hear from the media, elites, and experts. Losers are more prone to distrust election results, but the level and persistence of distrust is shaped by elite messages and electoral expectations.  Messages about elections can affect public confidence, but it seems easier to damage confidence than to strengthen it.  Reporting of election results faces challenges given delays in counting and shifts in vote margins that are often highlighted in news reports.

    Go here for the full list. 

Learn More

Or, go here to read the white papers in full: