Humphrey School News—July 7, 2015

Humphrey School Launches First of its Kind Online Program to Train Election Administrators Throughout U.S.

Certificate in Election Administration aims to professionalize election systems

Minneapolis (7/7/15)—Following approval from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, a new online certificate program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the first of its kind to prepare the next generation of creative and committed leaders of election administration. The Certificate in Election Administration program will provide relevant and rigorous professional training to those who run election systems throughout the United States as well as post-baccalaureate students. It is the only certificate program in election administration offered online, and students may enroll in the new online program beginning fall 2015.

“With this new program, the Humphrey School is poised to train leaders of election administration, at a time when there is an urgent national need to professionalize election systems,” says Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz. “This exciting new initiative will build on the School’s top-ranked standing and build on our commitment to inspiring and training leaders for public service.”   

Across the United States, there are 8,000 local election jurisdictions and more than 50,000 people employed in election positions. Until now, barriers including geography and work schedules have prevented professional development and training. At the same time, political and media scrutiny has intensified and the demands on election administrators have increased because of new legislation, court rulings and technology.

​ “Effectiveness and trust are indispensable for the operation of elections,” says Professor Larry Jacobs, director of the Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, who developed the program with Doug Chapin, one of the country’s most prominent experts on election administration. “The Humphrey School is excited to work with Doug Chapin to build a pioneering program to train professionals in election administration and to strengthen the foundation of America’s democracy.”

In its 2014 report, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration urged “the integration of election administration in university curriculums of public administration.” The Election Administration Certificate program is a direct response. A total of 12 credits are required for completion, and all courses will be offered in an online format, covering such topics as election law, election design, and voter participation. The program will provide students with a deep understanding of election administration and the ability to identify—and resolve—key tensions that run throughout the field today.

Commission member Tammy Patrick welcomes the Humphrey School’s program for meeting a “key recommendation to prepare tomorrow’s professionals to conduct elections in an environment that requires a comprehensive skill set in order to be successful. Our democracy depends on it.”

For more information, visit

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is one of the country’s top-ranked professional public policy and planning schools. The School is long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national, and global level and offers five distinctive master’s degrees, a doctoral degree, and five certificate programs.

Office of Communications

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
300G Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455