The Election Administration Research Center (EARC), located at UC Berkeley Law, seeks to improve the administration of elections through research, education, training, technical assistance, and public outreach. Established in January 2005 on the University of California Berkeley campus, the EARC studies elections at the national, regional and local levels, both within the US and internationally, and disseminates its findings to election officials, academic researchers, and the public. EARC develops materials and procedures to improve election administration and conducts training for election officials and election observers. Research and publication topics include:
- the organization of election agencies or authorities,
- voter registration systems and processes,
- the mechanisms for seating election officials,
- the background and professionalization of election officials and election agency staff,
- the development and implementation of voting systems in use by jurisdictions,
- the accessibility of voting systems for people with disabilities or limited language skills,
- programs for early voting, absentee voting and voting-by-mail,
- voting by members of the military and citizens living abroad,
- the recruitment and training of Election Day workers,
- the establishment, furnishing, and management of polling sites,
- all Election Day processes at polling sites, election offices, and elsewhere,
- collection, management, and utilization of registration and voting data, and
- election administration best practices.
EARC staff have conducted studies specifically on poll worker programs in California, online voter registration systems in Arizona and Washington, and military and overseas voting across the United States, all of which resulted in a broader and deeper knowledge of election systems as a whole. EARC staff work closely with state and local election officials through teaching in their certification programs, gathering relevant data about their experiences, attending their professional conferences, and disseminating reports with suggested practices. For more information see our Guide to EARC Research and Resources.
In the international arena, EARC conducts research and election monitoring, provides technical assistance and training to election authorities, and consults on election management best practices, disability access for voting, building of election databases, and districting. For example, EARC staff members
- traveled to Mexicali, Mexico in August 2007 as part of a US delegation observing the Baja state elections,
- conducted seminars on voting accessibility for Mexican election officials in June and November 2008,
- act as a resource on accessibility improvements for an international group advocating implementation of Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- co-hosted and trained a Carter Center delegation from China during the November 2008 election,
- briefed a Chinese official on tour of the US about California voting procedures,
- trained individuals in France and other countries on using election data for voting rights analyses, and
- participated in and provided technical assistance for an election observation mission to Nagorno-Karabakh's July 2012 Presidential Election. Read the Preliminary Observation Report on the July 19, 2012 Nagorno-Karabakh Presidential Election. Meet our colleagues at UC Davis Human Rights Initiative.
How is EARC different?
The EARC approach to election research is to assess elections comprehensively to ensure that they are conducted fairly, accurately, and securely and the rights of all actors in the process, especially voters, are protected. One way EARC accomplishes this is by examining election administration and management, i.e. determining what it takes to put all the pieces together to conduct a successful election. EARC researchers have a unique perspective stemming from many years of involvement with and deep examination of California election systems, including the collection and utilization of voting data drawn from those systems and familiarity with the variation of policies and procedures across California’s 58 counties. EARC staff members, having also conducted in-depth research in other US states (Washington, Montana, Arizona, Illinois, South Carolina, Florida), have a great deal of knowledge about different state election systems and how they compare to and differ from California’s election systems. EARC provides technical assistance and training to California election officials at the same level that an organizations like IFES or OSCE conducts on a long term election mission abroad, and more and more EARC will provide its services abroad as well. EARC is the only West Coast organization conducting this combination of academic-based research and technical assistance and training for international elections. California’s population is a microcosm of the world which makes it an excellent launching point for international election missions, as California residents originating from the specific countries, with strong ties and interests back home, can be brought into the efforts.
For more information please contact us at 510-642-8506 or use the form below.
Election Administration Research Center
2850 Telegraph Ave, Suite 500
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94705-7220