New MIT Election Data and Science Lab

I’m very happy to announce this morning that we have launched at MIT an entity we’re calling the MIT Election Data and Science Lab.  The purpose of the lab is to generate, advance, and disseminate scientific knowledge about the conduct of elections in order to improve their performance.

Here is a link to the press release that has more information.

The idea of the lab grows out of a desire to provide a hub to help direct scholars, election officials, citizen groups, journalists, and the general public to the best research into the conduct of elections.  By the end of the year, we will have a fully functioning Website that will serve as a one-stop portal, pointing to scholars, research, and data sources that should be of use to the entire elections community.

While the Lab will be responsible for conducting its own original research, what I most look forward to is championing the excellent work that colleagues around the country are doing to bring rigorous social science to questions of election reform and election administration.  I also hope the Lab will become a venue for practitioners and scholars to meet and grapple with the the difficult empirical issues that face election administration and reform.

This new Lab would not be possible without the financial and moral support of the Madison Initiative of the Hewlett Foundation.  Hewlett is to be praised for stepping up, in this turbulent time, and investing in the long-term strength of American elections.

We have established a very basic Website here that will allow us to share our progress as we build our staff, expand our programming, publish our research, and eventually migrate over to a more sophisticated Website by the end of the year.

As Doug Chapin is fond of saying, stay tuned…