Ansolabehere, Hersh and Gerber: "Voter Registration List Quality Pilot Studies"

Stephen Ansolabehere and his colleagues recently released a report that details the results of their recent studies into voter registration list quality. It’s a good read, anyone who is interested in election administration will want to take a look at their study, “Voter Registration List Quality Pilot Studies: Report on Detailed Results.”

Here’s a brief description of their study:

Between August 2008 and July 2009, audits were conducted to assess the quality of voter registration lists in two areas of the United States. These audits, conducted by Professors Stephen Ansolabehere and Alan Gerber with research assistance from David Doherty and Eitan Hersh, and funded by the Pew Center on the States, represent an initial e ort to evaluate the quality of voting records nationwide. According the National Commission on Federal
Election Reform, inaccurate voting lists present a signi cant obstacle to the integrity of U.S. elections, adding to costs of election administration, exposing elections to the possibility of fraud, and penalizing poor and less educated citizens (2001). This pilot study offers a first look at the quality of registration lists in two jurisdictions and develops a methodology for assessing list quality generally.

Findings from this study are described in two reports. In this first report, we focus on the key results of the list audits. We describe the several reasons why voter lists might become inaccurate and we measure the degree of inaccuracy identi ed through the audits.

In the second report, we discuss the methodology for conducting registration list audits. In that report, we review the sampling procedure, problems and surprises we encountered in conducting the research, and we describe a method for inferring the overall quality of theregistration lists from the samples we study.