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Measuring Election System Performance


Publication Date: 
January 01, 2011
Bibliography: Nathaniel Persily, Measuring Election System Performance, 13 New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy 445 (2011) [with Stephen Ansolabehere].

The controversy surrounding the 2000 presidential election focused the country's attention on questions concerning the quality of American democracy. That saga, however, is remembered in popular consciousness as one preoccupied with the question of voting technology.1 This is due in no small measure to the Supreme Court's focus on the counting and recounting of punch card ballots, with their dangling and pregnant chads open to varied interpretations.2 For practitioners *446 and scholars of election administration, however, the 2000 election represented a watershed event that exposed problems in the electoral system as a whole.3 Although we have made great strides as a nation in addressing the technological problems endemic to the 2000 election, we have made very little effort to evaluate the administration of elections in a systematic way. This article attempts to lay out what a system-based evaluation would entail.