Mississippi Is Still the Worst State for Elections

According to a new survey.

National Journal
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Brian Resnick
April 9, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

In 2012, life in Mis­sis­sippi might have got­ten bet­ter, but it’s still the worst state in the coun­try for elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey from Pew Char­it­able Trusts.

Pew cre­ates a com­pos­ite “Elec­tions Per­form­ance In­dex” based on 17 factors (some of which in­clude vot­ing-wait time, turnout, re­gis­tra­tion rate, the ro­bust­ness of the state’s elec­tion data, avail­ab­il­ity of on­line vot­ing in­form­a­tion, and use of pro­vi­sion­al bal­lots). Read the full list of cri­ter­ia here. Taken to­geth­er, they provide a ground to com­pare states, which have vary­ing elec­tion laws and prac­tices.

The av­er­age score of all states in­creased from 2008 to 2012, and vot­ing-wait times na­tion­ally ac­tu­ally de­creased by about three minutes.

But “Mis­sis­sippi had the low­est EPI av­er­age in all three years meas­ured by the in­dex: 2008, 2010, and 2012,” the re­port states. You can see Mis­sis­sippi on this plot of every state’s scores (com­par­ing per­form­ance in 2008 to 2012). Click for a lar­ger view. From this, you can also get a gen­er­al sense of which states are ex­cel­ling in elec­tions, and those that are fail­ing be­hind.

(Pew) Pew

Pew points to the lack of elec­tron­ic re­cords as the ill that’s hold­ing the worst-per­form­ing states back. For one, it re­com­mends these states ad­opt on­line voter re­gis­tra­tion: It en­sures ac­cur­ate re­cords from the start — no in­ac­curacies from poor hand­writ­ing — which de­creases the use of pro­vi­sion­al bal­lots and gives voters a simple way to chage their re­cords.

Check out Pew’s com­plete in­ter­act­ive com­par­ing the states here.

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