Earlier this month, Pew Charitable Trusts released new data for their Elections Performance Index (EPI), an online tool that provides a comprehensive assessment of election administration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Originally unveiled in 2012, the revised interactive adds data from the 2012 elections and makes it possible for the first time to compare performance across two presidential election years.
Pew found that overall, states did better on elections performance in 2012 than they did in 2008. Each state’s election performance was measured using 17 indicators, which include wait times at polling locations, availability of online voting information tools, rejection of voter registrations, turnout, and accuracy of voting technology.
High-performing states tended to remain high-performing: most of the highest-performing states in 2012 were also among the highest performers in 2008 and 2010. The same was true for the lowest-performing states in all three years.
The index revealed some stark regional differences across indicators. For example, the South had the lowest voter turnout and highest rate of nonvoting due to disability, as well as states with the highest average voting wait time.
Pew recommends states make elections more cost effective and efficient by implementing online voter registration, upgrading voter registration systems, and offering online voting information lookup tools. Many of these recommendations overlap with those presented earlier this year by the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration.