Upcoming conference: MPSA in Chicago

Later this week (Thursday-Sunday) the annual meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association will be in Chicago; this is one of two major national meetings for American political scientists. There are a number of paper presentations that may be of interest to our readers, and below is a list of some of the presentations that I’ve pulled from a quick study of the preliminary conference schedule, which is available here.

  • Thursday, 8:30am: Section 19-8, “Getting out the vote.” There are four papers on this panel, three of which might be of particular interest to our readers:

    1. Gerber, Grebner, Green and Larimer, “Does Publicity of Voting Records Increase Voter Turnout? A Field Experiment.”
    2. Magleby, Monson and Patterson, “The Ground War in the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign.”
    3. Nickerson, “Unpacking the Black Box of Door-to-Door Canvassing.”
  • Also on Thursday, 8:30am: Section 21-2, “Election reform.” This panel features four papers on election reform, two on general election reform in the United States, two on reapportionment and redistricting. The two on election reform might be of interest:

    1. Chesteen, “Carter-Baker Election Reform: Too Much, Too Little, Too Early, Too Late.”
    2. Ryan, “Liven Up! How Election Reform Can Rejuvinate American Democracy.”
  • And there is more on Thursday morning, at 8:30am, when Thad will be presenting a poster on some of his innovative new research on polling place workers: Section 43-301, “Poster Session: Public administration”, Thad E. Hall, “How Poll Workers Shape Public Confidence in Election Outcomes.”
  • During the next session, there are more interesting panels. For example, Section 23-5 (“Youth socialization and political participation in the U.S.”), and Section 24-1 (“New technoloogies of persuasion in federal politics”) both sound interesting.
  • Later in the day, at 3:45pm, there is a really interesting panel: Section 19-2, “Casting Ballots.” Here there are a set of papers worth hearing and reading:

    1. Andersen, “Keeping the Vote: The Use of Provisional Voting in the 2004 Election.”
    2. Johansen, “Early Voting, Party Mobilization, and Their Influence on Voter Turnout.”
    3. Mcdonald, “The 2004 Election Day Survey.”
    4. Sinclair and Alvarez, “Is It Better To Be First Or Last? The Ballot Order Effect.”
    5. Stein and Vonnahme, “Election Day Voter Centers and Voter Turnout.”
  • Then on Friday, there is one poster presentation that sounded interesting: Section 19-301, “Poster Session: Voting behavior”, Bobic, “When Function Follows Form: How Ballot Design Affects Voting Choice.”
  • Friday, 1:45pm, “Advanced models of voting”. Mebane is presenting “Detecting Attempted Election Theft.”

  • Friday afternoon also has a roundable discussoin on “The Elusive Ballot Box”, 3:45pm (Section 4-103).
  • On Saturday morning (8:30am), there is an interesting panel on “Competition and turnout” (Section 19-4), with a paper by Galatas, “None of the Above? Casting Blank Ballots in Canadian Provincial Elections.”
  • Then on Satuday afternoon, at 3:45pm, there is a panel on “Electronic Voting Systems” (Section 19-7):

    1. Bailey, “Measuring the Effect of Voting Technologies on Residual Votes.”
      Conrad et al., “Usability of Electronic Voting Systems: Field and Laboratory Experiments.”
    2. Herrnson et al., “Voter Errors in Electronic Voting: Voting Systems, Ballot Type and Voter Traits.”
    3. Herron and Lewis, “From Punchcards to Touchscreens: Some Evidence From Pasco County, Florida, on the Effects of Changing Voting Technology.”
    4. Niemi et al., “Voters’ Abilities to Cast Write-In Votes Using Electronic Voting Systems.”

No doubt there are other presentations that might be of interest.

As a general observation, while I’ve not made the attempt to quantify the changes over time, my intuitive observation here is that we see in this program an increased number of research presentations from political scientists on voting technology and election reform. Also, while I will have more to say about specific papers and presentations after the conference, from the individual researchers involved I suspect it will also be clear that there is a dramatic improvement in the quality of scholarship in these areas. We will just need to keep working hard to help translate the high-quality research into improved public policy.