What do Americans think about who should run elections?

Yesterday, Thad Hall, Morgan Llewellyn and I released a working paper draft of our analysis of some interesting attitudinal data on American voter opinions regarding election governance. The paper is titled “Who Should Run Our Elections? Public Opinion About Election Governance in the United States”. It’s a much more thorough analysis of survey data that we initially released in a short study in June 2005.

Here’s the abstract of the working paper:

Much has been said since the 2000 presidential election regarding the administration of elections in the United States, particularly in regards to how election administrators are selected and to whom they are responsive. Unfortunately, there has been little research on the different administrative structures that are possible and the preferences of Americans regarding these different administrative options. In this paper we present the results from a national survey of Americans, in which we asked them their preference for whether elections should be run by partisan or nonpartisan officials, whether the officials should be elected or appointed, and whether the administration of elections should be by a single unitary executive or by an election commission. In addition to eliciting the basic preferences of Americans about these administrative choices, we also undertake a deeper analysis of these data to determine the underlying patterns in support for the different administrative options.

As readers know, we’ve been conducting these public opinion surveys since before the 2004 election, covering (in addition to election governance) a variety of opinion and attitudinal data about election reform and voting technology. In September 2004 we released a short study regarding some survey data we had collected regarding opinions about electronic voting, “American Attitudes About Electronic Voting: Results of a National Survey;” we have data from subsequent replications of this survey, and a much more comprehensive analysis in our forthcoming book (Thad and I) on the electronic voting controversy. We are now writing a study from these surveys of voter confidence in the electoral process (which Thad and I are co-authoring with Morgan). And there are a few other interesting sets of survey questions that we have some data on that we’ll be writing about in coming months.