EAC Contract Awarded: 2006 Election Day Survey

A bit tardy on this posting, since I’ve been swamped with work related to this contract. Election Data Services has been awarded a contract from the EAC to work on materials related to the 2006 Election Day Survey.

The EAC is mandated by Congress to issue three reports:

  1. NVRA: The impact of the National Voter Registration Act
  2. UOCAVA: The impact of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act
  3. EDS: A summary of the election day survey

The language is a bit unclear on these surveys, because in 2004, the EAC conducted each of these separately, but in 2006 chose to collect the information together. So what I refer to as the “EDS” (election day survey) actually constituted three separate data collection efforts in 2004, and has to result in three separate reports in 2007.

To the degree possible, I’ll update readers on the progress of this project over the next few months. Early indications are that the 2006 EDS has some of the same limitations that many of us know about in the 2004 study (available here). We’re hoping to address these in the coming weeks.

The larger issues, from my political science perch, are two. First, Congress created a large unfunded mandate in HAVA, asking the EAC to produce reports based on data from states and locatlities that they are not collecting (and is costly to collect); and second (and related), a lack of a full buy-in by states and jurisdictions.

This is something Rick Hasen has written out many times in his blog, and remains one of the greatest hurdles facing the EAC. Is Congress going to fund this agency sufficiently so that it can fulfill its mandate, or will partisan divisions over election administration doom the agency? The next two election cycles will be key.