Analysis

The Elections Performance Index 2.0

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In 2013, Pew released the Elections Performance Index, or EPI, the first assessment of how well states administered elections in 2008 and 2010. Later this month, we will release an updated index, adding 2012 data that will allow states to compare their performance across presidential elections.

Over the coming weeks, the Election Data Dispatches will preview the new index and explore the stories behind the indicators, explaining why some states improved and others declined and why certain states are consistently excellent or poor performers.

The EPI uses 17 measurable indicators of election administration, many of which were recently highlighted in the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s report:

  • Data completeness: How many jurisdictions reported statistics on core survey items from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Election Administration and Voting Survey?
  • Disability- or illness-related voting problems: What percentage of voters did not cast a ballot because of an “illness or disability (own or family’s)?”
  • Mail ballots rejected: What percentage of mail ballots were not counted out of all ballots cast?
  • Mail ballots unreturned: What percentage of mail ballots sent out by the state were not returned?
  • Military and overseas ballots rejected: What percentage of military and overseas ballots returned by voters were not counted?
  • Military and overseas ballots unreturned: What percentage of military and overseas ballots sent out by the state were not returned?
  • Online registration available: Were voters allowed to submit registration applications online?
  • Postelection audit required: Did the state require an assessment of voting equipment performance after each election?
  • Provisional ballots cast: What percentage of voters had to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day?
  • Provisional ballots rejected: What percentage of provisional ballots were not counted out of all ballots cast?
  • Registration or absentee ballot problems: How many people reportednot casting a ballot because of registration problems, including failure to receive an absentee ballot or to be registered in the appropriate location?
  • Registrations rejected: What percentage of submitted registration applications were rejected?
  • Residual vote rate: What percentage of the ballots cast contained an undervote (i.e., no vote) or an overvote (i.e., more than one candidate marked in a single-winner race), indicating voting machine malfunction or voter confusion?
  • Turnout: What percentage of the voting-eligible population cast ballots?
  • Voter registration rate: What percentage of the voting-eligible population were registered to vote?
  • Voting information lookup tools: How many of five basic, easy-to-find online tools allowing voters to get key information—registration status, polling place, ballot information, absentee ballot status, and status of provisional ballots—did the state offer?
  • Voting wait time: How long, on average, did voters wait to cast their ballots?

Look for more information about the Elections Performance Index when it is released later in April.

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