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National Disability Voter Registration Week

elections / voting / blog / featured
This is National Disability Voter Registration Week and it is vital to highlight some data showing the importance of registering voters with disabilities. The best data on this topic comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. In November of every even-numbered year, the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) conducts a Voting and Registration Supplement. This supplement asks individuals if they were registered to vote in 2016 and if they voted. It includes follow up questions asking individuals who were not registered to vote the main reason why they were not as well as non-voters why they did not vote. In the following analysis, I use six questions posed by the Census Bureau in the CPS regarding disability to study voter registration by individuals... more
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Three Changes to the Landscape of U.S. Military and Overseas Voting—2012 versus 2016

elections / voting / blog / military / featured
Imagine you are a young sailor in the U.S. Navy, and you’re deployed out on a ship for several months. Others on your ship have been talking about an important presidential election that’s coming up, but you’re worried that you won’t be able to vote because you won’t be home before Election Day. How are you going to cast a vote from the middle of the ocean? And are there resources available to help make sure your vote is counted? The Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA, provides special absentee voting requirements for these and other covered individuals to ensure that their right to vote remains intact, no matter how far away they are located from their voting jurisdiction during an election.... more
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The Dynamic Changes in American Elections – 2012 to 2016

elections / voting / featured
American elections can change dramatically between presidential elections. Some of these changes were driven by political campaigns, with some states being more competitive than others in a given election; however, many of these changes were the result of new laws and policies that affect election administration. The U.S. Election Process According to the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), total turnout in the United States increased from 131.6 million in 2012 to 140.1 million in 2016 and the percentage of the citizen voting age population (CVAP) voting increased from 59.2 percent to 63 percent. In fact, five states—Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Oregon—reported turnout rates exceeding 70 percent of... more
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To Really Address Fraud Claims, Conduct Comprehensive Election Audits

elections / current events / featured / voting / in the news
Recently, President Donald Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence will head up a commission to investigate voting irregularities and possible fraud, especially related to voter registration. Examining elections to identify fraud requires in-depth election audits—a methodological examination of the processes and procedures that states and localities use to manage their elections, with all of their complexities. An audit looks at the process used to implement each aspect of an election, the personnel and how they are trained to implement the processes, and only then examining the bottom line—the numbers and the performance of the election. In our books Confirming Elections and Evaluating Elections, my collaborators and I wrote about how to audit a popular election and how to evaluate election administration.... more
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Electronic Voting Improvements for Military Members Living Overseas

voting / data security / blog / elections / research
I recently wrote about how basic policy improvements can improve the voting process for all Americans living overseas. In December 2016, the Overseas Voting Initiative (OVI), a collaboration between the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and The Council of State Governments, released a set of recommendations focused on using technology to improve the voting process for Americans abroad. The product of significant research, two notable recommendations focus on:
  • Using Department of Defense Common Access Cards (CACs) for signing documents digitally;
  • Duplicating damaged or unreadable ballots;
Policies Leading To Change These recommendations reflect the new reality of elections in the United States – especially for American overseas voters. Two major policy changes have driven the need for these recommendations. First, in... more
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These Findings About Voter Confidence Among Traditional Voters Can also Apply to UOCAVA Voters

news / military / featured / elections / voting
In the Washington Post’s 'Monkey Cage' blog, I coauthored a post on how effective election administration can improve voter confidence. This post was backed up by a wealth of research my academic colleagues and I have conducted on voter confidence and election administration over the years. Bottom line: from our many years of past research, we’ve found that most voters already are confident that their ballots are counted accurately – but "…that confidence can be improved or harmed by how state and local election officials manage elections". Election ballot Although our work has focused on traditional voting in polling places, the lessons learned from this research can be applied to the voting process for the overseas... more
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Is Direct Mail Dead? Not So, Say Millennials

youth / millennials / elections / voting / generational research / in the news / featured
As a Millennial, I know firsthand how much my generation relies on the digital world as an information source. So when I read that 42% of Millennials prefer political mail over digital forms, I went straight to the source of the statistic to find out more: a white paper recently released by the United States Postal Service (USPS) , which summarizes the results of a survey and series of focus groups concerning Millennials’ attitudes and perceptions about political mail. While there is a plethora of research to support how digitally inclined (or even dependent) Millennials are, the USPS study is unique in that it captures the behaviors of Millennials from a different angle. Results suggest that grabbing the attention of Millennials through digital... more
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The PokemonGo Get Out the Vote

featured / current events / in the news / marketing research / behavior / voting
If you are one of the many staring out your office window and wondering, why people, and groups of them, are staring at their phones and pointing it at a random sign, fountain, or building with so much eagerness, well, you are not alone. The answer is ‘Pokémon Go.’ This craze has been taking over lives, been the source behind many entertaining memes, and been popular marketing discussion as to the future of augmented reality and the implications for brands. There has even been talk that Pokémon Go has been more effective in getting people off the couch than other more targeted fitness campaigns. This campaign has legs – including those legs of all the players in the world – excited to actively explore the... more
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Overseas Citizens Can Vote – No Matter Where They Are: Military & Their Families

featured / voting / elections / military research / current events
Armed Forces Voters Week is happening now – June 27-July 5. As communities of friends, supporters or employers of Service members, spread the word about the resources available to make it easy for overseas U.S. citizens and Service members to register and vote. Help make sure their vote is counted! Members of our Armed Forces protect our freedoms and liberties. One of those cherished freedoms is the right to vote – and Service members and their families can exercise that right from wherever they are stationed around the world. Fors Marsh Group has worked with the agencies dealing with military recruiting and retention since its founding, and we’ve studied voting processes and patterns of voting – especially voting by military personnel – for years. We... more
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Data and Elections

featured / blog / in the news / voting
There has been quite a bit of media coverage this week about the long lines that occurred at the polls in Maricopa County, Arizona during the recent primary elections. The questions raised include whether the lines were caused by having too few voting locations and confusion over new voter identification requirements. However, the bigger issue was likely a lack of staffing at the polling locations and lack of care in selecting where to locate the polls. In our book Evaluating Elections: A Handbook of Methods and Standards, Michael Alvarez, Lonna Atkeson, and I discuss how simple data analysis can help local election offices avoid making simple election mistakes. A simple review of the historical data for Maricopa County suggests that having... more
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Tomorrow is Super Tuesday - do you feel pressure to vote?

featured / voting / elections / public perception / social psychology
The New York Times wrote recently about so called "vote shaming" mailers that had been sent to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire by one of the Republican candidates (or their surrogates). These mailers show the voting record of the individual and their neighbors and inform the recipient that an updated mailing will be sent after the election showing who voted and who did not. The idea is that a person will be motivated to vote to avoid a perception of dereliction of duty by members of their community. Without wading into the politics of the issue - whether a political candidate should send out the exact fliers that have been sent to voters - it is interesting to consider the actual... more
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Making Websites Work Well for All - Usability and Accessibility

featured / usability / user experience / voting / evaluation
***This post was co-authored by Drs. Thad Hall and Sou Montazeri. Dr. Thad Hall has over 14 years of experience conducting public policy research for public sector clients and in academic settings, and works as Project Leader over FMG's Public Policy and Evaluation division. Dr. Sou Montazeri has over 10 years of experience in human-centered product design, design with intent, and user-experience thinking and research. At FMG, she is responsible for working with clients on the design, execution, and interpretation of UX research.*** As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is important to remember that the population of individuals with disabilities is not small. According to the Census, approximately 34.2 million Americans aged 18 and... more
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Fors Marsh Group Deepens Its Public Policy Research Expertise with New Subject Matter Expert

election / voting / federal contracting / featured / news
April 23, 2015 – Fors Marsh Group (FMG) has broadened its public policy and election administration capabilities with the hiring of subject matter expert Dr. Thad Hall. Thad will be instrumental in continuing the strategic expansion of FMG’s public policy research capacity in support of clients such as the Department of Defense, Federal Voting Assistance Program, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. “We warmly welcome Thad as we continue to grow and diversify our team,” said Fors Marsh Group Chief Research Officer Brian Griepentrog. “Our growth is a direct response to the needs of our federal clients. Thad’s expertise in policy and election administration coupled with his superb consulting and research skill set will certainly benefit our clients. I look forward to Thad growing... more
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Economic Voting in Developing Democracies Workshop at the University of São Paulo

economics / voting / conferences / featured
I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to this recent workshop on economic voting in developing democracies held in São Paulo, Brazil. The workshop brought together a number of international researchers focusing on the phenomenon of economic voting in developing countries. Much of the work presented employed public opinion data on why and how citizens in developing democracies vote. The workshop was hosted by the University of São Paulo which is a leading South American University in many fields, including political science. Economic Voting Workshop Brazil The term economic voting can generally be described as voters rewarding or punishing incumbents based on economic performance. The 1992 U.S. presidential election is a notable... more
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Answering a Big Question with a Small Sample: Estimating the Size of the Overseas Citizen Population

client work / market research / military research / research design / voting / blog
The Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is charged with ensuring that active duty military and U.S. citizens residing overseas have the opportunity to vote is U.S. elections. While the U.S. government keeps track of the size and location of active duty military, similar information is not available for overseas civilians. In an attempt to address this lack of information about this important population, FVAP tasked FMG with developing estimates of the size of the overseas civilian population by country. In this blog, I will briefly discuss the approach FMG used to develop these estimates as well as the results. It is FMG’s hope that general approach described here can provide guidance to researchers who face similar problems with respect to developing predictive models... more
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