Election Administration by the Numbers

An Analysis of Available Datasets and How to Use Them

Quick Summary

This report—a follow-up to Data for Democracy—analyzes the completeness, strengths, weaknesses, and usefulness of elections data.

This is the first-ever report to analyze the completeness, strengths, weaknesses, and usefulness of data from sources such as state election divisions, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and its Election Administration and Voting Survey, public opinion surveys, and expert assessments.

Key Findings

  • Extensive data are available from the sources analyzed here.
  • More effective use can be made of existing data.
  • Election officials, legislators, academic researchers, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders should collaborate to improve the collection and use of data about elections nationally and in the states.
  • The accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data, and even basic definitions of terms, vary considerably across states and localities. Although significant information is available now, better data and consistent definitions will help states continue to improve the effectiveness of election administration.

The Pew Center on the States has been working with state election officials, researchers, and other experts to develop measurements and tools to improve election performance. This report follows up on Pew's 2008 report Data for Democracy, which reviewed ways in which data could support better election management, from the local to the national level.

Media Contact

Stephanie Bosh

Officer, Communications