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electionlineWeekly — November 9, 2017

Table of Contents

 V. Research and Report Summaries
electionline provides brief summaries of recent research and reports in the field of election administration. The summaries are courtesy of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., director of research for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Voters with Disabilities: Observations on Polling Place Accessibility and Related Federal Guidance – United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), October 2017: Per a Congressional request, the GAO examined access for people with disabilities at early voting and Election Day polling locations for the 2016 general election. Of the 178 polling places observed, 60 percent had one or more potential impediments outside the locations, such as steep ramps outside buildings, lack of signage for accessible paths, and poor parking.

The GAO was able to fully examine the interiors of 137 locations. Of these 65 percent had a voting station with an accessible voting system that could impede the casting of a private and independent vote. This included  voting stations not set up to accommodate people using wheelchairs as well as stations not set up to provide the same level of privacy for voters with disabilities that other voters had. 

Among its recommendations the GAO suggests the U.S. Department of Justice study federal accessibility requirements and how they are implemented related to in-person early voting. 

Local Leaders’ Views on Elections in Michigan: Accuracy, Problems, and Reform Options - Debra Horner and Thomas Ivacko, The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, November 2017: Highlights from this survey of local government officials in Michigan about election administration include:

  • Officials in 91 percent of the state's townships and cities are very confident in the ability of their jurisdictions to administer elections accurately.
  • The most common challenges reported related to recruiting poll workers. 29 percent said there were problems finding poll workers with the needed skills.
  • 25 percent of respondents said the costs of administering elections are a problem for their budget. 
  • 67 percent of local officials support the state’s move to update voting equipment by August 2018. 

When asked about a variety of possible changes to the election process in the state, respondents:

  • Supported no-excuse absentee voting, 66 percent in favor, 19 percent opposed; and supported synchronizing voter lists with other states, 50 percent in favor, 10 percent opposed.
  • Opposed same day registration, 66 percent opposed, 17 percent support; and opposed early voting, 50 percent opposed, 32 percent support. 

Voter Trends in 2016: A Final Examination - Rob Griffin, Ruy Teixeira, and John Halpin, The Center for American Progress, November 2017: This report focuses on the 2016 election and its vote composition, turnout, and party support rates by demographic group. To do this analysis the authors developed their own estimates using publicly available data sources such as the American Communities Survey (ACS), the November supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), the American National Election Study (ANES), and the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey (CCES). They also used their own post-election polling as well as voter files from several states. Their results differ from the 2016 exit poll results in a number of areas.