HomeLearning CenterA New Election Science Task Force Aims to Strengthen Our Elections—and Our Democracy 

A New Election Science Task Force Aims to Strengthen Our Elections—and Our Democracy 

Originally published by Jennifer Jones for Union of Concerned Scientists

A strong and healthy democracy reflects the will of the people. It gives everyone an equal opportunity to participate and have their vote counted, regardless of race, gender, wealth, or social status. It ensures that all voters have the ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.  

It depends on all of us to take part and strengthen our democracy together, and science has a crucial role to play. The science of elections can help us identify evidence-based best practices to improve voter access, increase public trust in the election process, and ensure fair representation so that elected officials can be held accountable to the interests of their voters.  Past UCS work has called out the role of disinformation in weakening our democracy, the dangers of artificial intelligence in elections, and how voting restrictions harm public health. The 2024 election will have consequential outcomes and we want to ensure that everyone eligible can vote and that their votes are counted fairly.  

A task force of election experts

The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS is convening an Election Science Task Force of more than 20 leading experts, including election scientists, democracy researchers, community organizers, voting rights attorneys, and elected officials. The goal of the task force is to strengthen the role of science in evaluating how elections are conducted, and to use election science to identify best practices and make recommendations for relevant policy changes to improve how our elections are administered.

The task force will seek to: 

Ensure fair representation. Too often, election maps are drawn by partisan politicians to secure their own power rather than to accurately represent the interests of their voters. The science of elections allows us to establish clear standards to make sure district maps are drawn fairly and that redistricting processes are transparent and encourage public participation.   

Increase election data transparency. Transparent and consistent handling and communication of election data—such as voter registration numbers, the number of mail ballots sent and returned, and results—helps increase trust in elections, reduces the potential for false claims of fraud to gain traction, and enables states to better assess their own election administration.   

Improve ballot design. Today, ballot designs vary widely across states, but all states can adopt scientifically-tested best practices to make ballots more equitable and improve voter education materials for everyone. We’re working for equitable ballot design and improved voter education materials to more accurately reflect the preferences of the governed.    

Leading up to the 2024 election, the task force will analyze election data preparedness and integrity in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. We will analyze voter files and participation rates at the precinct level, track ballot rejection rates due to errors, and determine whether election administrators contacted voters to fix errors—a process known as ballot curing. In this way, the task force can identify processes that can unfairly marginalize voters. 

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