Research

Research

Since its founding in 2017, Election Reformers Network has been a leader in developing policies to strengthen U.S. democracy and reform systems which reduce trust or create conflicts of interest in the election ecosystem. Below are the reports, briefs, and resources which are the culmination of the original research that informs our program portfolio.

Features

February 17, 2023
Brief
Data

Why do we elect judges? Wisconsin’s highly partisan race begs the question.

In many states, supreme court justices are elected directly by the people, a process that is often divisive and inefficient. ERN developed this policy brief to help the public better understand alternatives to judicial elections.

September 1, 2022
Report
International Resource

Who Certifies Elections in the U.S. and Abroad?

The election certification process was thrown into the partisan fray in 2020 and 2022. ERN has conducted twin studies aimed at comparing the certification process domestically and abroad so that we can glean best practices and keep this important process neutral.

December 7, 2021
Report
International Resource

Lessons From Canada: Nonpartisanship Works

This in-depth look at the Canadian model of election administration explains how delegating authority to independent professionals overcame widespread fraud and established a system that won the trust of voters.

May 1, 2024
Report
Brief

Electoral College Reform: The Proportional Solution

This presidential election reform concept would end winner-take-all for the electoral college votes (which is not in the Constitution). Instead, states would allocate their electoral votes proportionally to the top vote-getters in the state.

November 4, 2022
Brief

What Happens if an Election is Close and Contested? An FAQ for Voters and Journalists

With partisan tensions running high and trust in elections low, it's crucial that voters and journalists are aware of the procedures that election administrators and the courts have in place to fairly resolve disputes. Understanding these steps can help ensure that results are broadly accepted as legitimate, even when...

April 29, 2021
Brief
Data

Which States Have Election Commissions or Boards

As a result of the decentralized nature of elections in the United States, election administration structures vary greatly state-by-state. In ten states the state-level leadership is the responsibility of an election board or commission. These types of boards, if structured correctly, can reduce concerns about partisanship in election certification processes.

September 1, 2020
Report

Guardrails For The Guardians: Reducing Secretary of State Conflict of Interest

Although most secretaries of state perform exemplary public service, party allegiances built into these positions make the United States a global outlier in election administration and create risks that need to be addressed.

April 6, 2022
Report

Dangers of Partisan Incentives for Election Officials

This joint report by ERN and the Bipartisan Policy Center examines why partisanship has been a long-standing issue in U.S. election administration, how the issue is getting worse with shifting political dynamics, and which solutions can reverse these trends.

February 1, 2024
Brief

Where Do Election Deniers Oversee Elections as Secretary of State?

In the 2022 cycle, 28 states held elections to select their chief election official (usually the secretary of state). At least 33 candidates for these statewide offices ran while questioning or denying the results of the 2020 presidential election — raising questions about whether they would conduct their work impartially if elected.

June 27, 2023
Brief
Report

Helping States Comply with the Electoral Count Reform Act

This report summarizes the impact of the Electoral Count Reform Act on state law and provides six recommendations on what states need to look for—and potentially change.

August 23, 2022
Data
Brief

National Poll on Election Administration

We must remove partisanship from election administration, say voters of all political stripes in a national poll commissioned by Election Reformers Network. The survey asked people’s views on our election system and on changes aimed at bolstering voter trust; 71% believe candidates for election official positions should be required to have experience running elections.

June 15, 2023
International Resource
Report

Lessons from Other Democracies: Ideas for Combatting Mistrust and Polarization in US Elections

Adopting best practices from other countries is an opportunity to buttress policies and procedures that make US elections free and fair and draw inspiration from others facing the same challenges.

January 15, 2022
Report
International Resource

New Models For Keeping Partisans Out Of Election Administration

The Carter Center joins with ERN to release this joint report on how proven models for impartiality in redistricting and the judicial system can be used to ensure that our election leaders are independent, professional, and accountable.

Results Not Found.

Additional Resources

March 1, 2022

States have many different models for running elections. This short guide (with map) breaks down where elections are run by an individual (such as a Secretary of State), a board or commission, or a combination of the two.

August 14, 2023

Watchdogs and redistricting experts filed an amicus brief to guide courts in assessing political gerrymandering, using the standard authored by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. New Mexico's current court challenge provided the case study.

August 7, 2023

As election administration comes under increasing scrutiny from both sides of the political spectrum, an increasing number of researchers, scholars, lawyers, organizations, writers, and editorial boards have come out in favor of the concept of "impartial election administration." 

May 26, 2023

Voter enthusiasm, recent bipartisanship in Congress, and an unclear political future create an opportunity to reform our systems that should not be passed by.

January 1, 2020

This groundbreaking Ropes & Gray legal landscape study of U.S states found that few, if any, have adequate legal provisions to constrain partisan endorsements, fundraising or related actions by election officials.

January 30, 2022

Here in America we don’t have the same range of parties as in the U.K. — in part because our Congress is undersized, with only one-seventh the number of representatives per citizen. But we do have political groupings that have trouble gaining representation in proportion to their share of the population.

August 23, 2018

This report compares constitutional amendment legislation in five states aimed at blocking partisan gerrymandering and changing how redistricting is done. The states include Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.

February 1, 2023

In this hyper-partisan era, states must take steps to ensure that: a) current officials are protected from threats and intimidation; b) future election officials will act impartially; and c) voters are confident that election administrators are doing their jobs without partisan bias. This ERN policy brief addresses how, including model legislation.

March 16, 2023

ERN Executive Director Kevin Johnson speaks to the Role of Social Innovation in Democracy Conference hosted by Stanford Social Innovation Review. This conference took place March 16–18, 2023.

Engagement Opportunity
Engagement Opportunity
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Internal resource
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Funding Opportunity
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Webinars
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Bill
Data
Data
News
News
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Opinion
Report
Report
Video
Video
International Resource
International Resource
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Brief
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