The Early Voting Information Center, in collaboration with Democracy Fund, is proud to announce the release of the Stewards of Democracy, a report based on our 2018 Survey of Local Election Officials. Conducted in the summer of 2018, this survey obtained responses from over 1,000 officials across the country, serving jurisdictions ranging in size from under 250 voters to over 1 million voters.
A lot more information is contained in the full report, but a brief list of the takeaways:
- LEOs were prepared for the 2018 midterm election, although most expressed low confidence in obtaining sufficient numbers of bilingual poll workers.
- LEOs have high confidence in the security of their own states’ voter registration systems but were less confident in the security of voter registration systems across the country.
- LEOs were also very confident in their own states’ ability to count ballots as intended but were less confident in vote counts across the nation.
- LEOs told us, in both closed-ended items and most forcefully in open-ended responses, that resource constraints are a major limitation on their ability to engage and educate voters and to assure a positive voter experience.
- LEOs in larger jurisdictions were far more likely to report taking cybersecurity measures before the 2018 election.
- The majority of LEOs agreed that, since they first started administering elections, registration and voting have become easier for voters and for election administrators.
- The LEOs we surveyed overwhelmingly expressed voter-centric attitudes that valued voter education and outreach — the percentage of LEOs endorsing this voter-centric approach has grown by 40 percent over the past decade.
- LEOs widely acknowledged the positive role that technology can play in improving election conduct, but they may be skeptical of technology that is put in place too fast.
- Opinions around “ease” or “difficulty” of Online Voter Registration and Automatic Voter Registration were strongly conditioned by experience with administering these policies.
- LEOs articulated, the need to increase funding and resources, especially staff and poll workers, new technology, and training.
- LEOs were sometimes frustrated with legislative changes to elections, especially when those changes occurred without input or the funding needed to implement policies.
- LEOs expressed support for policy changes like early voting, expansion of no-excuse absentee voting, and all-mail elections.