To ensure elections are run most effectively -- with all populations included and voting times reduced -- states and local jurisdictions should capture and critically analyze data obtained from several voting points (e.g., the time of registration to the time an individual casts a ballot). Without this bird's-eye view, states are powerless to know where they have gone wrong and how they can improve.
Each state examined has collected and published voter turnout and registration data, as well as other statistics, on the websites of their state election agencies, although some states make more information available than do others. At a minimum, each state has published its voter registration numbers, which are often updated monthly. Every state -- aside from Louisiana -- also reports the turnout percentage for most major elections based on the number of votes cast compared to the number of voters registered. Michigan and Pennsylvania additionally report a turnout number based on the percentage of voters out of the voting age population.
Many states -- Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania -- also report registration or turnout figures in subcategories including age or race. This is particularly important for states in determining where additional outreach is needed to bring all voter-eligible populations into the process. Florida has published the number of registrations received from different agencies (required by the NVRA to provide the service) and means of registering -- such as from the DMV, whether by mail or online -- as well as information on the number of voters who voted early or by mail. This information is useful for elections officials and individuals or groups as they work to improve their administration processes. It is also helpful to see where NVRA agencies -- such as public assistance or disability offices -- are failing to provide required registration services.
Arkansas was particularly noteworthy in terms of the data and statistics it recorded: the state also publishes an analysis of voting trends every two years in a report called "Voices of Arkansas." Statistics infrequently included in data for all states were comprehensive records of line wait times and frequency of other issues and problems. This is information that the Commission recommended for states to keep better track. In assessing these wait times, states will know where they need to send out additional resources for the next election to better serve the electorate.
|FINDINGS BY STATE|