5 Things To Know About Making the Voting Process Work for Voters

Image of a ballot being cast

Elections in America have changed a lot since the disputed 2000 presidential election — new machines, new laws, and more — but the biggest changes are redefining how voters engage the process.

Doug Chapin of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs has been tracking the field of elections for the Election Academy blog, and has identified five trends that you should know:

  1. Election offices are going online. Well over half the states now offer some kind of online registration, and increasingly states are also creating information portals for voters to get the information they need before Election Day

  2. States and localities are working to reduce lines at the polls. With the help of new research and tools developed at MIT, election offices are identifying how to allocate resources to high traffic polling places on Election Day while steering them away from less heavily used areas.

  3. Election offices are asking voters to rate their experience. Seminole County, FL and Missoula County, MT are counting not only votes but also the evaluations of voters about the experiences — and changing their procedures accordingly.

  4. Election design is a "hot topic". Election officials are paying more attention to how voters use forms and websites — as well as how they move through physical spaces like polling places.

  5. Elections are becoming more accessible to the America's growing diversity. Thanks to partnerships with community advocates and others, election offices are making polling locations and websites accessible for people with disabilities and supplying materials and in the languages of voters.

Do you want to learn more about how the field of elections is changing? Check out the Certificate in Election Administration program at the University of Minnesota. Learn about that innovations that are improving the voter experience as well as how you can acquire the skills and experience to become a leader of America's fast-changing election system.

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