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United States Government Accountability Office:
GAO:
Report to Congressional Requesters:
September 2014:
Elections:
Observations on Wait Times for Voters on Election Day 2012:
GAO-14-850:
GAO Highlights:
Highlights of GAO-14-850, a report to congressional requesters.
Why GAO Did This Study:
Millions turn out to vote in U.S. general elections, and there were
reports of long wait times at some polling places on Election Day in
2012. The authority to regulate elections is shared by federal, state,
and local officials; however, responsibility for conducting federal
elections primarily resides with about 10,500 local election
jurisdictions. GAO was asked to examine voter wait times for the
November 2012 election.
This report addresses (1) the extent to which local election
jurisdictions collected data to measure voter wait times and had long
wait times on Election Day 2012, and (2) the factors that affected
wait times and their impacts across jurisdictions. GAO surveyed
officials from a nationwide generalizable sample of 423 local election
jurisdictions, excluding jurisdictions with populations of 10,000 or
fewer and in the vote-by-mail states of Oregon and Washington, to
obtain information on voter wait times (80 percent responded).
Estimates from the survey are subject to sampling error and are
reported with 95 percent confidence intervals. GAO also interviewed
election officials from 47 of 50 states and the District of Columbia
to obtain their views on wait time issues. GAO also selected 5 local
jurisdictions based on, among other things, demographic
characteristics and estimated wait times to examine in more detail
their Election Day 2012 experiences. The results from these 5
jurisdictions are not generalizable, but provide insights into
jurisdictions' experiences. GAO also reviewed literature on wait times
and interviewed 14 election researchers selected based on their work
on election wait times.
What GAO Found:
the basis of GAO's nationwide generalizable survey of local election
jurisdictions, GAO estimates that 78 percent (from 74 to 83 percent)
of jurisdictions did not collect data that would allow them to
calculate wait times, primarily because wait times have not been an
issue, and most jurisdictions did not have long wait times on Election
Day 2012. Specifically, GAO estimates that 78 percent (from 73 to 83
percent) of local jurisdictions nationwide had no polling places with
wait times officials considered to be too long and 22 percent (from 17
to 27 percent) had wait times that officials considered too long at a
few or more polling places on Election Day 2012. Jurisdiction
officials had varying views on the length of time that would be
considered too long—for example, some officials considered 10 minutes
too long, while others considered 30 minutes too long. Because there
is no comprehensive set of data on wait times across jurisdictions
nationwide, GAO relied on election officials in the jurisdictions it
surveyed to estimate wait times based on their perspectives and any
data or information they collected on voter wait times.
Multiple factors affected voter wait times on Election Day 2012, and
their impacts varied across jurisdictions. Specifically, GAO's survey
of local election jurisdictions, review of wait time literature, and
interviews with election officials and researchers identified nine
common factors that affected wait times.
Figure: Voting Stages and Nine Key Factors That Affected Wait Times on
Election Day 2012:
[Refer to PDF for image: illustration]
Stage: Arrival;
Factors at each stage:
* Opportunities for voting before Election Day.
Stage: Check-in;
Factors at each stage:
* Type of poll books[A];
* Determining voter eligibility.
Stage: Mark and submit;
Factors at each stage:
* Ballot characteristics;
* Amount and type of voting equipment.
Crosscutting factors:
* Number and layout of polling places;
* Number and training of poll workers;
* Voter education;
* Resource availability and allocation.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of studies on election administration and interviews with
election officials and researchers. GAO-14-850.
[A] A poll book is a list of registered voters and is used by poll
workers to verify voters' registration.
[End of figure]
The specific impact of these nine factors depended on the unique
circumstances in each of the 5 local jurisdictions GAO selected for
interviews, leading to targeted approaches for reducing wait times
where needed. For example, according to election officials in 2
jurisdictions, lengthy ballots were the primary cause of long wait
times. In 1 of these jurisdictions, state constitutional amendments
accounted for five of its eight ballot pages on average, and since the
2012 election, a state law was enacted that established additional
word limits to such amendments, which officials said could help reduce
wait times. Another jurisdiction that had ballots of similar length
did not report long wait times.
In comments on draft report excerpts, 1 jurisdiction stated that our
description of its experiences was accurate. The Election Assistance
Commission and 4 other jurisdictions did not have comments.
View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-850]. For more
information, contact Rebecca Gambler at (202) 512-8777 or
gamblerr@gao.gov.
[End of section]
Contents:
Letter:
Background:
On the Basis of Our Survey, We Estimate That Most Jurisdictions Did
Not Collect Data for Calculating Wait Times or Have Long Voter Wait
Times on Election Day 2012:
A Number of Factors Affected Voter Wait Times on Election Day 2012,
and Their Impacts Varied across Jurisdictions:
Agency and Third-Party Comments:
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:
Appendix II: Aggregated Results from Nationwide Survey of Local
Election Jurisdictions:
Appendix III: Estimates of Average Wait Times by State on Election Day
2012 Based on Nationwide Public Opinion Survey:
Appendix IV: Comments from the Supervisor of Elections for Lee County,
Florida:
Appendix V: GAO Contact and Acknowledgments:
Tables:
Table 1: Selected Wait Time Data for Election Day 2012 Collected by
Jurisdictions Nationwide:
Table 2: Reported Wait Times and Characteristics on Election Day 2012
across Five Selected Jurisdictions:
Table 3: Population in Each State Group:
Table 4: Local Jurisdiction Election Survey Sample Allocation:
Figures:
Figure 1: Voting Process in Polling Places on Election Day:
Figure 2: Direct Recording Electronic Machine, Central Count Optical
Scanner, and Precinct Count Optical Scanner:
Figure 3: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions Nationwide That
Had Polling Places with Wait Times Officials Considered Too Long on
Election Day 2012:
Figure 4: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions' Average Wait
Times at Polling Places at Different Times on Election Day 2012:
Figure 5: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions Nationwide That
Had Polling Places with Wait Times of Greater than 60 Minutes at Any
Time on Election Day 2012:
Figure 6: Voting Stages and Nine Key Factors That Affected Voter Wait
Times on Election Day 2012:
Figure 7: Estimates of Average Wait Times by State on Election Day
2012 Based on Nationwide Public Opinion Survey:
Abbreviations:
CCES: Cooperative Congressional Election Study:
DRE: direct recording electronic:
EAC: Election Assistance Commission:
HAVA: Help America Vote Act:
MCD: minor civil division:
SPAE: Survey of the Performance of American Elections:
[End of section]
United States Government Accountability Office:
GAO:
441 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20548:
September 30, 2014:
The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
House of Representatives:
The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Government Operations:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
House of Representatives:
The Honorable Frederica S. Wilson:
House of Representatives:
Millions of individuals turn out to vote in U.S. federal elections,
and there were reports of voters who waited in long lines to vote at
some polling places on Election Day in November 2012. An estimated 153
million individuals were registered to vote in this election, and an
estimated 67 percent of Americans who voted did so in the traditional
way by casting ballots at their local polling places on Election Day.
[Footnote 1] Reports of long wait times at the polls also occurred in
prior elections, including the 2008 and 2004 general elections. Long
voter wait times have raised concerns because, according to election
administration researchers, they may discourage some people from
voting or impose hardships on some voters, such as those who cannot
afford to miss work or those with disabilities who are physically
unable to wait for long periods of time.[Footnote 2] Researchers and
others have defined long wait times in different ways, such as 30
minutes or more or 120 minutes or more. For the purposes of our
review, we did not identify a specific amount of time as constituting
or defining a long wait time; rather, as discussed in our report, we
obtained views from state and local election officials, researchers,
and others on what they consider to be long wait times.
The authority to regulate elections in the United States is shared by
federal, state, and local officials. Deriving its authority from
various constitutional sources, depending upon the type of election,
Congress has passed legislation addressing major functional areas in
the voting process such as voter registration and prohibitions against
discriminatory voting practices.[Footnote 3] Nevertheless, the
responsibility for the administration of state and federal elections
resides at the state level, and state statutes regulate various
aspects of elections, including registration and Election Day
procedures. Within each state, responsibility for managing, planning,
and conducting elections is largely a local process and resides with
about 10,500 local election jurisdictions nationwide.
Since 2001, we have issued a number of reports on various aspects of
the election process, such as voting technology used in federal
elections and state laws addressing voter registration. In our reviews
of both the 2004 and 2000 general elections, we noted that long lines
were identified as an Election Day issue by jurisdictions we surveyed.
[Footnote 4] In our reports on those elections, we noted some of the
jurisdictions that reported long lines were those jurisdictions that,
for example, experienced higher than expected voter turnout or had
presidential races that were considered close.
You asked us to review voter wait times during the November 2012
general election and the factors that contributed to wait times, among
other things. This report addresses the following questions:
1. To what extent did local election jurisdictions collect data to
measure voter wait times and have long voter wait times on Election
Day 2012?
2. What factors affected voter wait times on Election Day 2012, and
what were the impacts of these factors across jurisdictions?
To address these objectives, we conducted a web-based survey of
election officials from a nationally representative stratified random
sample of 423 local election jurisdictions, excluding jurisdictions
with populations of 10,000 or fewer and jurisdictions in Oregon and
Washington.[Footnote 5] Officials from 80 percent of these
jurisdictions responded to our survey.[Footnote 6] In stratifying our
nationwide sample, we grouped jurisdictions by their 2010 U.S. Census
population--small (10,001 to 100,000), medium (100,001 to 500,000),
and large (more than 500,000). We surveyed officials about any data
their jurisdictions collected related to wait times on Election Day
2012, voter wait times in their jurisdictions on this day, and their
views on factors that affected long voter wait times.[Footnote 7]
Responses about wait times may be based on officials' perspectives,
data, or other information on wait times. We also analyzed responses
from the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), a
survey of U.S. citizens aged 18 and over, to obtain state-level
estimates of wait times reported by voters for in-person voting on
Election Day 2012.[Footnote 8] To assess the reliability of these
data, we reviewed documentation related to the 2012 CCES and
interviewed researchers knowledgeable about the survey. We determined
that the CCES data used in this report were sufficiently reliable for
our purposes.
Further, we interviewed state election officials from 47 states and
the District of Columbia to obtain such information as the
availability of data on voter wait times in their states for Election
Day 2012 and their views on policies and procedures that may have
affected voter wait times.[Footnote 9] We corroborated the information
we gathered through these interviews by reviewing any documentation
that these states provided, such as guidance on planning elections and
voter wait time reports. We also interviewed local election officials,
on-site or by phone, from 5 local jurisdictions--Detroit, Michigan;
Hartford, Connecticut; Lee County, Florida; Los Angeles County,
California; and Prince William County, Virginia--to perform a more
detailed examination of their experiences on Election Day 2012,
including how, if at all, they measured wait times; their views on the
factors that affected wait times in their respective jurisdictions on
Election Day 2012; and their opinions on the specific impacts of these
factors, among other things.[Footnote 10] We selected these
jurisdictions (1) to reflect variation in geographic location and
demographic characteristics and (2) based on our survey results, CCES
results, and our review of wait time literature, to include a range of
voter wait times and election administration policies and practices.
For example, in our survey, 4 of the 5 selected jurisdictions reported
having varying extents of long wait times and 1 reported not having
long wait times. In each jurisdiction, we interviewed the chief
election official; other officials from the elections office; and, if
available, individuals who had served as poll workers at polling
locations in the jurisdiction on Election Day 2012. While these 5
jurisdictions are not representative of all local election
jurisdictions nationwide, officials in these locations provided a
range of perspectives on voter wait times and information on how
factors affected wait times in practice and allowed us to compare
Election Day 2012 experiences across jurisdictions. We corroborated
the information we gathered through these interviews by reviewing
postelection reports, relevant state statutes, and documentation that
these jurisdictions provided to us, such as data relating to voter
wait times and poll worker training materials.
In addition, we interviewed officials from the Election Assistance
Commission (EAC) and 14 researchers and representatives from research
organizations in the field of election administration to discuss their
perspectives on wait time measurement and voter wait times.[Footnote
11] We selected these researchers and representatives based on our
review of voter wait time literature and their expertise and work in
this area. The information that we obtained cannot be generalized to
other researchers; however, these interviews provided a range of views
on such areas as practices for measuring wait times, the frequency of
long voter wait times, and factors affecting wait times. We also
reviewed relevant literature on voter wait times, such as studies on
wait times by various researchers and reports completed or sponsored
by state or local governments in our 5 selected
jurisdictions.[Footnote 12] A GAO social scientist and a statistician
reviewed the studies whose findings we cite in this report and
determined that the design, implementation, and analyses of the
studies were sufficiently sound to support the studies' results and
conclusions based on generally accepted social science principles. See
appendix I for additional information on our scope and methodology.
We conducted this performance audit from July 2013 to September 2014
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
Background:
Overview of Election Administration:
Election authority is shared by federal, state, and local officials in
the United States, but election administration is highly decentralized
and varies among state and local jurisdictions. Federal election laws
have been enacted that include provisions pertaining to voter
registration, protecting the voting rights of certain minority groups,
and other areas of the elections process. States regulate various
election activities, including some requirements related to these
laws, but generally delegate election administration responsibilities
to local jurisdictions.[Footnote 13]
Federal Roles and Responsibilities:
Congressional authority to regulate elections derives from various
constitutional sources, depending upon the type of election, and
Congress has passed legislation in major functional areas of the
voting process, such as voter registration, as well as prohibitions
against discriminatory voting practices. For example, the Help America
Vote Act (HAVA)--enacted in October 2002--includes a number of
provisions related to voter registration, voting equipment, and other
election administration activities, and authorized the appropriation
of funds to be used toward implementing the law's requirements.
[Footnote 14] The act authorized funding for states and jurisdictions
to, among other things, meet the act's requirements, including
replacing punch card and mechanical lever voting equipment and
creating and maintaining a centralized state voter registration
database.
HAVA also established the EAC, an independent federal agency, to help
improve state and local administration of federal elections.[Footnote
15] The EAC is charged with providing voluntary guidance to states
regarding implementing certain HAVA provisions and serving as a
national clearinghouse and resource for information with respect to
the administration of federal elections, among other things. For
example, the EAC issued guidelines that identified data that would be
helpful in conducting postelection analysis, such as the average wait
time for polling place voters by precinct, and best practices for
designing ballots and voter information materials.
In addition to HAVA, federal laws have been enacted in other areas of
the voting process. For example, the National Voter Registration Act
of 1993 expanded the opportunities for eligible citizens to apply to
register to vote in federal elections by requiring states to allow
registration by mail using the federal voter registration form and at
state motor vehicle agencies and other specified public agencies.
[Footnote 16] Also, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended,
contained, among other things, provisions designed to protect the
voting rights of U.S. citizens of certain ethnic groups whose command
of the English language may be limited.[Footnote 17] Language minority
provisions in the act require covered states and covered jurisdictions
to provide written materials--such as sample ballots or registration
forms--in the language of certain "language minority groups" in
addition to English, as well as other assistance, such as bilingual
poll workers.[Footnote 18]
State and Local Roles and Responsibilities:
The responsibility for the administration of elections resides at the
state and local levels. States regulate various aspects of elections
including, for example, registration procedures, absentee and early
voting requirements, and Election Day procedures. Further, states are
required by HAVA to implement a single, uniform, centralized,
computerized statewide voter registration list to serve as the
official voter registration list for conducting all elections for
federal office in each such state.[Footnote 19]
Within each state, responsibility for managing, planning, and
conducting elections is largely a local government process, residing
with about 10,500 local election jurisdictions nationwide.[Footnote
20] Some states have mandated statewide election administration
guidelines and procedures that foster uniformity among the ways local
jurisdictions conduct elections. Others have guidelines that generally
permit local election jurisdictions considerable autonomy and
discretion in the way they run elections. Although some states bear
some election costs, local jurisdictions generally pay for elections.
Local jurisdictions have discretion over such activities as training
election officials and the purchase of voting technology (if not
mandated by the state). Among other things, local election officials
register eligible voters and maintain voter registration lists; design
ballots; educate voters on how to use voting technology and provide
information on the candidates and ballot measures; arrange for polling
places; recruit, train, organize, and mobilize poll workers; prepare
and test voting equipment for use; count ballots; and certify the
final vote count.
The Voting Process:
Voting before Election Day:
States have established alternatives for voters to cast a ballot other
than at the polls on Election Day, including absentee voting and early
voting. All states and the District of Columbia have provisions
allowing voters to cast their ballots before Election Day by voting
absentee, with variations on who may vote absentee, whether the voter
needs to provide an excuse for requesting an absentee ballot, and the
time frames for applying for and submitting absentee ballots.[Footnote
21] Some states also permit registered voters to apply for an absentee
ballot on a permanent basis so that those voters automatically receive
an absentee ballot in the mail prior to every election without
providing an excuse or reason for voting absentee.[Footnote 22] In
addition to absentee voting, some states allow early voting. In
general, early voting allows voters from any precinct in the
jurisdiction to cast their vote in person without providing an excuse
before Election Day either at one specific location or at one of
several locations.
In-person Voting on Election Day:
For the purposes of in-person voting on Election Day, election
authorities subdivide local election jurisdictions into precincts.
Voters generally cast their ballots at the polling places for the
precincts to which they are assigned by election authorities.[Footnote
23] Within the polling place, there are three stages in the voting
process--arrival, check-in, and marking and submitting ballots--and
poll workers have roles and responsibilities associated with each of
them.[Footnote 24] Figure 1 describes the three stages in the voting
process.
Figure 1: Voting Process in Polling Places on Election Day:
[Refer to PDF for image: illustration]
Arrival: Voters arrive at polling place.
Check-in: Poll workers verify voters' registration using voter lists
and in some cases requesting voters provide required identification.
Mark and submit:
Electronic ballots: Ballot is submitted electronically in voting booth;
Paper ballots: Voters submit ballots to be counted at the polling
place or to be sent to a central tabulation location for counting.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of studies on election administration and interviews with election
officials and researchers. GAO-14-850.
[End of figure]
* Arrival. Poll workers manage the arrival of voters, which may
include tasks such as greeting and directing voters and assisting with
questions.
* Check-in. Before voters can gain access to a voting booth, poll
workers determine their eligibility to vote by verifying their
registration using voter lists or poll books--a list of individuals
eligible to vote within the voting precinct. Jurisdictions use either
paper or electronic poll books--most often laptops or tablets--to
check in voters. If the individual does not appear in the poll book
for the precinct, federal law requires that an individual asserting to
be registered in the jurisdiction for which he or she desires to vote
be provided a provisional ballot.[Footnote 25] If individuals are
determined to be eligible voters, their provisional ballots are to be
counted as votes in accordance with state law, along with other types
of ballots, and included in the total election results.
* Marking and submitting ballot. After voters are checked in, poll
workers direct them to a voting booth to mark their ballots and then
submit the ballots for counting. The manner in which votes are cast
and counted can vary depending on the voting method and technology
employed by the jurisdiction.
Currently, most votes are cast and counted by one of two types of
electronic voting systems: direct recording electronic (DRE) systems
and optical or digital scan systems.[Footnote 26] Such systems include
the hardware and software used to define ballots, cast and count
votes, report or display election results, and maintain and produce a
printed record of voters' selections. Figure 2 shows images for a DRE
machine and optical scanners.
* DRE machines.[Footnote 27] Voters mark ballots electronically using
a touch screen or push-button interface, and their ballot selections
are stored in the machine's memory.
* Optical or digital scanner. An optical scan system consists of
computer-readable paper ballots, appropriate marking devices, privacy
booths, and a computerized tabulation device. Optical scan ballots are
marked using an appropriate writing instrument to fill in boxes or
ovals next to a candidate's name or an issue. If ballots are counted
at a central location using a central count optical scan, voters
deposit their ballots in a sealed box. If ballots are counted at the
polling place using a precinct count optical scan, voters or election
officials feed ballots into the scanner.
Figure 2: Direct Recording Electronic Machine, Central Count Optical
Scanner, and Precinct Count Optical Scanner:
[Refer to PDF for image: 3 photographs]
Source: GAO. GAO-14-850.
[End of figure]
Postelection Activities:
Following the close of the polls on Election Day, election officials
and poll workers complete steps such as securing equipment and
ballots, transferring physical ballots or records of precinct vote
counts to a central location for counting, and determining the outcome
of the election. Votes counted include those cast on Election Day,
absentee ballots, early votes (where applicable), and provisional
ballots. While preliminary results are available usually by the
evening of Election Day, the certified results are generally not
available until days later.
Election Administration Research and Data Sources on Voter Wait Times:
Various studies and research have been conducted on voter wait times.
In general, these studies and research have used voter surveys, data
on voter check-in and polling place closing times in individual
jurisdictions, and the experiences of local jurisdictions to examine
issues of voter wait times. For example, the Presidential Commission
on Election Administration (Presidential Commission)--established by
executive order in March 2013--issued a report in January 2014
identifying best practices in election administration and making
recommendations to improve the voting experience and ensure that all
eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without
undue delay.[Footnote 28] In conducting its work, the Presidential
Commission held public hearings that included academic researchers in
the field of election administration and state and local election
officials, among others, and surveyed local election officials
nationwide regarding a number of issues, including voter wait times.
[Footnote 29]
Moreover, various researchers have used postelection voter survey data
to examine wait time issues, as there is currently no comprehensive
set of data that tracks Election Day wait times across precincts
nationwide. Two nationwide postelection public opinion surveys in
particular have included questions on wait times experienced by
voters. The Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE),
conducted in 2008 and 2012, is an Internet survey of 200 registered
voters in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.[Footnote
30] Respondents were asked about their experiences voting--in person
on Election Day, in person prior to Election Day, and absentee--
including, for those who reported voting in person, the length of time
they recalled waiting in line to vote. The CCES, an Internet survey of
U.S. citizens aged 18 and over, has been administered since
2006.[Footnote 31] Researchers have used data from these surveys to
estimate individual voter wait times by state, the effect of wait
times on the voter experience, and the relationship between
demographic characteristics and wait times, among other things.
In addition, some researchers have conducted postelection studies of
wait time issues for specific states. For example, researchers have
assessed the extent of long voter wait times in Maryland, Florida, and
other states using data such as voter check-in times, polling place
closing times, and information from voter surveys.
On the Basis of Our Survey, We Estimate That Most Jurisdictions Did
Not Collect Data for Calculating Wait Times or Have Long Voter Wait
Times on Election Day 2012:
Estimates from our nationwide survey of local election jurisdictions
indicate that most jurisdictions did not collect data that would allow
them to calculate voter wait times at individual polling places on the
November 2012 General Election Day. Our survey found that
jurisdictions did not collect these data primarily because wait times
have not been an issue. However, some jurisdictions nationwide did
collect selected types of wait time data that election officials and
researchers have identified would be helpful in measuring wait times.
Officials in the jurisdictions we selected for interviews and
researchers have measured wait times using various practices, such as
the length of time polling places remained open after designated
closing times. In addition, estimates from our survey indicate that a
small percentage of jurisdictions nationwide had long voter wait times
at more than a few polling places on Election Day 2012.
Most Jurisdictions Did Not Collect Data for Calculating Wait Times,
Primarily because Wait Times Have Not Been an Issue, but Some Have
Made Estimates Using Various Practices:
On the basis of our survey, we estimate that 78 percent (from 74 to 83
percent) of local jurisdictions nationwide did not collect, receive,
or have available information that would allow them to calculate voter
wait times that occurred at individual polling places on Election Day
2012.[Footnote 32] Of these jurisdictions, we estimate that 79 percent
(from 73 to 84 percent) did not collect this information because, as
discussed later in this report, voter wait times have not been an
issue.[Footnote 33]
Some jurisdictions did collect some types of wait-time-related
information that election administration researchers and state and
local officials have said could be helpful in measuring wait times. On
the basis of our survey, we estimate that officials in jurisdictions
nationwide most commonly collected, received, or had available the
types of information for Election Day 2012 shown in table 1, such as
the number of votes cast at a precinct during a specified time period.
These jurisdictions may not have collected these data across all
individual polling places. In addition, most of these data may need to
be used together or with other information to measure wait times. We
estimate that data collection, where it did occur, varied across
jurisdictions, with large jurisdictions more likely than small
jurisdictions to collect these data. For example, 43 percent of large
jurisdictions--those with populations greater than 500,000--collected
data on voter complaints about wait times, while 14 percent (from 9 to
19 percent) of small jurisdictions--those with populations between
10,001 and 100,000--collected the same type of data.
Table 1: Selected Wait Time Data for Election Day 2012 Collected by
Jurisdictions Nationwide:
Type of data collected: Observations by election officials of voter
wait times at polling places;
Estimated percentage of jurisdictions that collected these data: 36
(from 30 to 42 percent).
Type of data collected: The number of votes cast at a precinct during
a specific time period;
Estimated percentage of jurisdictions that collected these data: 31
(from 25 to 36 percent).
Type of data collected: The length of time polling places remained
open after designated closing times;
Estimated percentage of jurisdictions that collected these data: 18
(from 14 to 23 percent).
Type of data collected: The time individuals checked into a polling
place, recorded by an electronic poll book;
Estimated percentage of jurisdictions that collected these data: 17
(from 13 to 22 percent).
Type of data collected: Voter complaints about wait times at polling
places;
Estimated percentage of jurisdictions that collected these data: 16
(from 12 to 21 percent).
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions. GAO-14-850.
[End of table]
In addition to surveying local election jurisdictions nationwide, we
also discussed data collected and practices used for estimating wait
times with officials from the 5 jurisdictions we selected for
interviews. Officials from these jurisdictions told us that they have
estimated wait times at some or all polling places using the data
discussed above and other information. For example,
* Officials we interviewed at 4 selected jurisdictions stated that
they used the time between when the polls closed and when the last
voter cast a ballot to estimate wait times. While this technique does
not provide information on wait times for the entire voting period,
according to researchers we interviewed and studies we reviewed, it
could provide reasonable wait time estimates for a small group of
voters.[Footnote 34]
* Officials from 1 of the jurisdictions said that they also surveyed
polling place supervisors on election night regarding the length of
voter wait times. Officials from another jurisdiction said that they
used election officials traveling across polling locations and
precinct poll worker observations to monitor and estimate wait times.
Officials from this jurisdiction told us that if these officials or
poll workers report problems with voter wait times, actions are taken
to address the issue, such as providing additional poll workers or
other resources.
* Officials at 2 of the 5 selected jurisdictions said that, since the
2012 general election, they have collected wait time data by
distributing time-stamped cards to voters upon arrival. In at least
one election, 1 of these jurisdictions distributed time-stamped cards
to every 15th voter upon arrival. Poll workers then recorded the time
on each card at various stages of the voting process and collected the
cards when voting was complete. In the other jurisdiction, officials
stated that they began measuring wait times from arrival to check-in
in the August 2014 election by distributing cards to voters upon
arrival and then collecting those cards at the check-in station, where
they recorded the time of check-in in an electronic poll book.
Some researchers have noted that the study of voter wait times is
relatively new because measures of times spent waiting to vote are
still being developed.[Footnote 35] These researchers have used a
variety of practices to measure wait times, such as polling place
closing times--similar to 4 of our 5 selected jurisdictions--or
surveys of voters, and primarily have relied on a single type of data.
[Footnote 36]
Other researchers have measured wait times using multiple sources of
data. For example, Maryland's State Board of Elections commissioned a
study of Election Day 2012 wait times in jurisdictions within the
state, which used available electronic poll book and DRE systems data
combined with historical voter turnout information to estimate voter
wait times.[Footnote 37] Specifically, the study used the average time
to check in voters (recorded via electronic poll books), the number of
votes cast per voting machine at a polling place over a fixed time
period, and other variables such as expected voter turnout at
different times of the day and ballot length to perform a simulation
of wait times at all polling places in the state.[Footnote 38]
According to the study's authors, election administrators with access
to these types of data could use the simulation results, which
provided precinct-level information, to see where there are potential
problem areas and move resources accordingly when planning for future
elections. However, on the basis of our survey, we found that the
technologies to generate these types of data are either not available
or not being used in many jurisdictions. For example, from our survey,
we estimate that electronic poll books were used in 29 percent (from
24 to 34 percent) of local jurisdictions nationwide for the 2012
general election and DRE systems were used in 51 percent (from 45 to
57 percent) of jurisdictions on Election Day.
We Estimate That a Small Percentage of Jurisdictions Had Long Voter
Wait Times at More than a Few Polling Places on Election Day 2012, and
Wait Times Were Believed to Be the Same or Shorter than Those in 2008:
Analysis of Our Survey of Local Jurisdictions:
Estimates from our nationwide survey of local election jurisdictions
indicate that a small percentage of all jurisdictions had long voter
wait times at more than a few polling places or long average wait
times across polling places on Election Day 2012. In our survey, we
defined wait time as the time from when a voter entered the first line
to when he or she began filling out a ballot, and we asked
jurisdiction officials to estimate (1) how many polling places had
wait times that officials considered to be too long, (2) the average
voter wait time for all polling places at three times of day, and (3)
how many polling places had wait times of greater than 60 minutes at
any time during Election Day.[Footnote 39] Because there is no
comprehensive set of data on voter wait times across jurisdictions
nationwide and we estimate that most jurisdictions did not collect
data on wait times based on our survey of election jurisdictions, we
relied on election officials in the jurisdictions we surveyed to
estimate wait times for these measures based on their perspectives,
data, or other information on wait times.[Footnote 40]
Our survey asked jurisdiction officials what amount of time they
considered to be too long for voters to wait to begin filling out a
ballot.[Footnote 41] On the basis of our survey, we estimate that
officials in 24 percent (from 19 to 29 percent) of local jurisdictions
nationwide believe that a voter wait time of more than 10 minutes on
Election Day is too long, officials in 30 percent (from 24 to 35
percent) of jurisdictions believe that a wait time of more than 20
minutes is too long, and officials in 21 percent (from 17 to 26
percent) of jurisdictions believe that a wait time of more than 30
minutes is too long.[Footnote 42] We then asked jurisdiction officials
how many of their polling places had wait times that they considered
too long on Election Day 2012. The results are shown in figure 3. On
the basis of election officials' survey responses, we estimate that 78
percent (from 73 to 83 percent) of jurisdictions nationwide had no
polling places with wait times they considered too long on Election
Day 2012, 19 percent (from 15 to 23 percent) had a few polling places,
and 3 percent (from 1 to 5 percent) had more than a few polling
places.[Footnote 43]
Figure 3: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions Nationwide That
Had Polling Places with Wait Times Officials Considered Too Long on
Election Day 2012:
[Refer to PDF for image: vertical bar graph]
Percentage of jurisdictions"
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: None; 78%;
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: A Few; 19%;
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: Less than half, but more
than a few; 2%;
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: About half; 0;
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: More than a half; 1%;
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: Don't know/no answer; 0.
Also depicted: 95% confidence levels.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions. GAO-14-850.
Note: Wait times may be based on officials' perspectives, data, or
other information on wait times. Percentages may not add to 100
percent because of rounding.
[End of figure]
We also asked jurisdiction officials nationwide to estimate the
average voter wait time for all polling places at three times of day
on Election Day 2012.[Footnote 44] The results are shown in figure 4.
On the basis of election officials' survey responses, we estimate that
the percentage of jurisdictions with wait times of 0 to 10 minutes
during the first hour after the polls opened, around lunchtime, and
during the last hour before the polls closed were 51 percent (from 45
to 56 percent), 49 percent (from 43 to 55 percent), and 45 percent,
(from 39 to 51 percent) respectively. In addition, we estimate that
the percentage of jurisdictions nationwide with wait times of over 20
minutes ranged from 5 percent (from 3 to 8 percent) around lunchtime
to 8 percent (from 5 to 12 percent) during the first hour after the
polls opened and the last hour before the polls closed.[Footnote 45]
According to our survey, in about a third of jurisdictions, officials
did not know average voter wait times for these times of day.
Figure 4: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions' Average Wait
Times at Polling Places at Different Times on Election Day 2012:
[Refer to PDF for image: vertical bar graph]
Percentage of jurisdictions:
Duration of wait time: O to 10 minutes;
First hour after polls opened: 51%;
Around lunchtime: 49%;
Last hour before polls closed: 45%.
Duration of wait time: 11 to 20 minutes;
First hour after polls opened: 9%;
Around lunchtime: 12%;
Last hour before polls closed: 14%.
Duration of wait time: Over 20 minutes;
First hour after polls opened: 8%;
Around lunchtime: 5%;
Last hour before polls closed: 8%.
Duration of wait time: Don't know/no response;
First hour after polls opened: 33%;
Around lunchtime: 34%;
Last hour before polls closed: 33%.
Also depicted: 95% confidence levels.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions. GAO-14-850.
Note: Wait times may be based on officials' perspectives, data, or
other information on wait times. Percentages may not add to 100
percent because of rounding.
[End of figure]
In addition, we asked jurisdiction officials nationwide to estimate
how many polling places had wait times of greater than 60 minutes at
any time on Election Day 2012. As shown in figure 5, on the basis of
officials' survey responses, we estimate that 79 percent (from 75 to
84 percent) of local jurisdictions nationwide had no polling places, 9
percent (from 6 to 13 percent) had a few polling places, and 3 percent
(from 1 to 5 percent) had more than a few polling places with wait
times of greater than 60 minutes on Election Day 2012.
Figure 5: Estimated Percentage of Local Jurisdictions Nationwide That
Had Polling Places with Wait Times of Greater than 60 Minutes at Any
Time on Election Day 2012:
[Refer to PDF for image: vertical bar graph]
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: None;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 80%.
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: A Few;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 9%.
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: Less than half, but more
than a few;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 1%.
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: About half;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 1%.
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: More than a half;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 1%.
Number of polling places in jurisdiction: Don't know/no answer;
Percentage of jurisdictions: 9%.
Also depicted: 95% confidence levels.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions. GAO-14-850.
Note: Wait times may be based on officials' perspectives, data, or
other information on wait times. Percentages may not add to 100
percent because of rounding.
[End of figure]
Among the 338 jurisdictions that responded to our survey, 18
jurisdictions reported having wait times of greater than 60 minutes at
more than a few polling places on Election Day 2012. We assessed these
18 jurisdictions to determine the extent to which they shared any
common selected demographic characteristics by analyzing demographic
data on these jurisdictions from the U.S. Census. We selected the
demographic characteristics to include in our analysis based on those
identified in our interviews with researchers and the election
administration literature we reviewed as potentially affecting voter
wait times. This analysis does not indicate that these demographic
characteristics caused voter wait times because there could be other
reasons why wait times occurred in these jurisdictions. In addition,
the common characteristics we identified apply only to the 18
jurisdictions that reported wait times of greater than 60 minutes and
cannot be generalized to the broader election jurisdiction population.
On the basis of our analysis, we identified that these 18
jurisdictions tended to have larger populations with lower median ages
than survey respondents overall and to have higher proportions of
residents who are nonwhite and speak English as a second language. For
example,
* Twelve of the 18 jurisdictions had large populations (greater than
500,000), 5 had medium-sized populations (100,001 to 500,000), and 1
had a small population (10,001 to 100,000). All but 1 of these 18
jurisdictions had population sizes above the median population size of
all respondent jurisdictions.
* The median age of the populations of respondent jurisdictions was
38.4 years. Fifteen of the 18 jurisdictions reporting voter wait times
of greater than 60 minutes at more than a few polling locations had
median ages that were lower than this median.
* The median percentage of white residents for the respondent
jurisdictions in our sample was 76.4 percent, and 17 of the 18
jurisdictions reporting wait times of greater than 60 minutes at more
than a few polling places had white populations below that level, with
the lowest being less than 8 percent white. In addition, with regard
to the primary language spoken by residents in the jurisdiction, 11 of
the 18 jurisdictions reporting long wait times had populations where
English is a second language for more than 20 percent of the
population, with the highest being 48 percent. The median value for
all respondent jurisdictions was a little over 10 percent of residents
who spoke English as a second language.
Last, we asked jurisdiction officials nationwide to compare typical
voter wait times in 2012 and 2008. Our survey results indicate that,
according to jurisdiction officials, typical voter wait times for the
majority of jurisdictions nationwide on Election Day 2012 were not
longer than typical voter wait times on Election Day 2008. We estimate
that officials in 44 percent of jurisdictions (from 38 to 50 percent)
believed typical wait times were the same in 2012 as 2008, 19 percent
(from 14 to 24 percent) believed wait times were shorter in 2012, and
6 percent (from 3 to 9 percent) believed wait times were longer in
2012. In addition, we estimate that in 31 percent (from 26 to 37
percent) of jurisdictions nationwide, officials did not know or were
unsure about how wait times in 2012 compared with those in 2008.
Our Analysis of Cooperative Congressional Election Study Data and
Review of Other Wait Times Studies:
In addition to analyzing the results of our survey of a nationally
representative stratified random sample of local election
jurisdictions, we analyzed voter survey data categorized by state on
estimated voter wait times from the CCES.[Footnote 46] Data from the
CCES are segmented by state to allow for the comparison of individual
voter wait times among states. Our analysis of CCES data demonstrates
that, as with the results from our survey of local jurisdictions, long
voter wait times were limited on Election Day 2012. Specifically, our
analysis of CCES data found that average voter wait times on Election
Day 2012 varied across the nation, but few states had average voter
wait times of more than 20 minutes. On the basis of this analysis, we
estimate that average voter wait times ranged from 1.4 minutes (from
0.7 to 2.1 minutes) in Alaska to more than 34 minutes (from 25 to 43
minutes) in Florida.[Footnote 47] Further, we estimate that in 3
states--Florida, Maryland, and Virginia--about 12 percent or more of
voters waited 61 minutes or more to vote.[Footnote 48] Appendix III
provides more detailed information on the results of our analysis of
CCES data on voter wait times in states.
In addition, some studies we reviewed that measured wait times at
national and state levels reported that national and statewide average
wait times in 2012 generally were not longer than those reported in
2008, and may have been shorter in many cases. For example, one study
that used data from two nationally representative surveys of voters
indicated that the average wait times for early and Election Day
voting combined were lower in 2012 than in 2008 both nationally and in
many states.[Footnote 49] Furthermore, this study estimated that the
percentage of respondents reporting wait times of less than 10 minutes
increased, while the percentage of voters reporting wait times of
greater than 60 minutes decreased over the same period. Similarly, in
a study conducted for the Maryland State Board of Elections following
the 2012 general election, the study's authors found that Maryland
residents who reported voting in previous presidential elections and
2012 in a statewide survey were more likely to say that it took less
time to vote in 2012 than in earlier elections.[Footnote 50]
A Number of Factors Affected Voter Wait Times on Election Day 2012,
and Their Impacts Varied across Jurisdictions:
On the basis of our survey of local election jurisdictions, interviews
with election officials and researchers, and review of relevant
literature, we found that various factors, such as voting before
Election Day and ballot characteristics, affected voter wait times at
different stages in the voting process on Election Day 2012. These
factors interacted to affect wait times in the five jurisdictions we
selected for interviews, and their impacts varied depending on the
unique circumstances in each of the jurisdictions. This variation
resulted in targeted approaches by these jurisdictions for reducing
wait times where needed and where resources allowed.
Various Factors Affected Voter Wait Times:
A combination of factors generally affected wait times on Election Day
2012, and these factors may interact to create unique effects on wait
times within a jurisdiction or polling place. For instance, one
jurisdiction or polling place may be able to manage lines caused by
long ballots by increasing the number of voting stations (booths or
machines), whereas another jurisdiction or polling place may be unable
to set up additional voting stations because it does not have any in
reserve, or because there is not enough room at one or more polling
places. As a result, the presence of a factor that could contribute to
wait times does not necessarily mean wait times will occur. Further,
some factors may be present in one election but not another, such as
new types of voting equipment, and some factors may be outside the
control of local jurisdictions, such as state laws allowing or
limiting early in-person voting. It is useful to consider the causes
of and solutions for long wait times across jurisdictions to identify
common factors; however, it is also important to consider causes and
solutions within the unique circumstances of each jurisdiction. The
Presidential Commission reported that election administration problems
overlap and intersect, and literature we reviewed and researchers we
spoke with noted that multiple factors may contribute to long lines,
depending on the circumstances of local jurisdictions.
As discussed earlier, on the basis of officials' responses to our
survey, most local jurisdictions nationwide did not experience long
voter wait times on Election Day 2012, and we primarily focused on
those that did in assessing the factors involved. For example, we
estimate that 22 percent (from 17 to 27 percent) of all jurisdictions
nationwide had wait times that officials considered too long at a few
or more polling places on Election Day, and we asked officials in
these jurisdictions to select which factors they believed contributed
to long voter wait times at polling places in their
jurisdiction.[Footnote 51] The studies we reviewed have also focused
on the effect of long wait times on voters in the 2012 and previous
elections. For example, studies found that some individuals were
deterred from voting in 2012 and 2008 because of long wait
times.[Footnote 52]
On the basis of our survey, interviews with state and local election
officials and election researchers, and review of literature related
to voter wait times, we identified nine key factors that affected wait
times on Election Day 2012:
* opportunities for voting before Election Day,
* type of poll books,
* determining voter eligibility,
* ballot characteristics,
* amount and type of voting equipment,
* number and layout of polling places,
* number and training of poll workers,
* voter education, and:
* resource availability and allocation.[Footnote 53]
These factors can affect voter wait times at different stages in the
voting process on Election Day--(1) arrival, (2) check-in, and (3)
marking and submitting the ballot. In addition, some of these factors,
such as resource availability and allocation, can cut across multiple
stages in the process. Figure 6 shows the voting process and factors
that we identified.
Figure 6: Voting Stages and Nine Key Factors That Affected Voter Wait
Times on Election Day 2012:
[Refer to PDF for image: illustration]
Stage: Arrival;
Factors at each stage:
* Opportunities for voting before Election Day.
Stage: Check-in;
Factors at each stage:
* Type of poll books[A];
* Determining voter eligibility.
Stage: Mark and submit;
Factors at each stage:
* Ballot characteristics;
* Amount and type of voting equipment.
Crosscutting factors:
* Number and layout of polling places;
* Number and training of poll workers;
* Voter education;
* Resource availability and allocation.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of studies on election administration and interviews with
election officials and researchers. GAO-14-850.
[A] A poll book is a list of registered voters and is used by poll
workers to verify voters' registration.
[End of figure]
A key factor that could affect wait times at the arrival stage is:
* Opportunities for voting before Election Day. The availability of
opportunities to vote before Election Day, such as in-person early
voting and mail-in absentee voting, may have affected voter turnout on
Election Day 2012. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia
had laws in effect for the November 2012 election to allow voters to
cast an absentee ballot by mail without an excuse. These states and
the District of Columbia--as well as 6 additional states--also had
laws providing for early voting.
Text box:
Perspectives on Voting before Election Day:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 24 percent (from
15 to 37 percent), officials believe no or limited opportunities for
voting outside of Election Day was a contributing factor;
* Election officials in 23 states reported that the availability of
alternative voting options, such as voting by mail or early voting can
affect wait times;
* Of the jurisdictions nationwide making changes to address the causes
of long wait times, we estimate that 30 percent (from 18 to 45
percent) are revising polices or procedures related to options for
voting outside of Election Day.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of interviews with state election officials.
[End of text box]
Key factors at the check-in stage that could affect wait times include:
* Type of poll books. A poll book is a list of eligible voters
assigned to a jurisdiction and is commonly organized alphabetically or
by the address of the voters. Poll workers use poll books, whether
paper or electronic, at polling place check-in stations to ensure
voters are registered, eligible to vote, and at the correct voting
precinct. The extent to which a poll book is easily and quickly
searched affects the poll worker's ability to efficiently check in
voters. On the basis of our national survey of local jurisdictions, we
estimate that 29 percent (from 24 to 34 percent) of jurisdictions used
electronic poll books and 77 percent (from 72 to 82 percent) used
paper poll books on Election Day 2012.[Footnote 54]
Text box:
Perspectives on Poll Books:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 35 percent (from
26 to 47 percent), officials believe the use of paper poll books was a
contributing factor, and in 15 percent (from 7 to 26 percent),
officials believe the use of electronic poll books was a contributing
factor;
* Election officials in 10 states reported that either the state or
jurisdictions within the state used or planned to use electronic poll
books in an effort to minimize wait times;
* The studies we reviewed and researchers we interviewed provided
varying perspectives on electronic poll books. For example,
- According to a report by the Presidential Commission, electronic
poll books can provide several benefits, such as the ability to search
for voter information using a variety of fields;
- Some researchers noted that electronic poll books may not help with
voter wait times or may contribute to them. In particular, one
researcher we spoke with said that poll books with limited search
capabilities may cause delays in finding voters' registration
information. Another researcher noted that older poll workers may not
be comfortable with or proficient using the technology.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions, analysis of
interviews with state election officials and election researchers, and
Presidential Commission 2014 report on election administration.
[End of text box]
* Determining voter eligibility. Poll workers must spend additional
time determining voter eligibility if the information they are
provided at check-in does not match the information in the poll book.
This could be due to first-time voters, voters with inactive
registration status, voters going to the wrong polling place, or
inaccurate voter registration information, among other
things.[Footnote 55] First-time voters may be more likely to arrive at
the wrong polling place or be unfamiliar with the check-in process.
Voters may also arrive at the wrong polling place because
redistricting or precinct consolidations led to changes to their
polling place locations from previous years.[Footnote 56] Issues with
determining voter eligibility can lengthen the transaction time at
check-in because poll workers may need to investigate the source of
the problem and provide additional assistance, such as administering a
provisional ballot.[Footnote 57]
Text box:
Perspectives on Determining Voter Eligibility:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 44 percent (from
32 to 56 percent), officials believe processing provisional voters was
a contributing factor;
* Some studies we reviewed noted that the provisional ballot process
resulted in longer wait times on Election Day 2012. For example, one
study found that voters who cast provisional ballots were at the check-
in table twice as long as voters using traditional ballots[A];
* Of the jurisdictions nationwide that had wait times officials
considered too long at a few or more polling places on Election Day,
we estimate that:
- In 49 percent (from 37 to 61 percent), officials believe a large
number of first-time voters was a contributing factor;
- In 35 percent (from 24 to 48 percent), officials believe that a
large number of inactive voters was a contributing factor;
- In 35 percent (from 24 to 46 percent), officials believe
redistricting and in 28 percent (from 18 to 40 percent), officials
believe that consolidation or changes to polling places were
contributing factors;
- In 24 percent (from 14 to 36 percent), officials believe incorrect
or inaccurate voter registration information was a contributing factor;
* Researchers and jurisdiction officials we spoke with said that
modernizing voter registration would reduce the potential for delays
at the polling place. Suggestions include using electronic
registration and allowing voters to register and change information
online.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions, analysis of
interviews with election researchers and local election jurisdiction
officials, and studies on voter wait times.
[A] Douglas M. Spencer and Zachary S. Markovits, "Long Lines at
Polling Stations? Observations from an Election Day Field Study,"
Election Law Journal, vol. 9, no. 1 (2010).
[End of text box]
Key factors at the mark and submit stage that could affect wait times
include:
* Ballot characteristics. Ballot characteristics, such as their length
and design, vary across jurisdictions. These characteristics are
subject to state and federal requirements, such as the minority
language provisions of the Voting Rights Act and the type of the
voting equipment used.[Footnote 58]
Text box:
Perspectives on Ballot Characteristics:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 71 percent (from
59 to 82 percent), officials believe a long ballot was a contributing
factor;
* Officials in 15 of the 18 jurisdictions in our survey that reported
wait times of greater than 60 minutes at more than a few polling
places believed a long ballot was a contributing factor;
* Election officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia; *
reported that ballot characteristics could affect wait times.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of interviews with state election officials.
[End of text box]
* Amount and type of voting equipment. The amount of voting equipment
allocated to polling places can depend on the level of funding
available to jurisdictions to purchase equipment or replace or repair
broken equipment and resource planning by jurisdictions.[Footnote 59]
Further, the type of voting equipment can affect how efficiently
voters mark and submit their ballots, among other things. On the basis
of our survey, we estimate that 73 percent (from 68 to 78 percent) of
jurisdictions used paper ballots with optical/digital scan counting
devices, 51 percent (from 45 to 57 percent) used DRE machines, and 18
percent (from 13 to 24 percent) used paper ballots that were hand-
counted on Election Day. Some jurisdictions combined methods.
Text box:
Perspectives on Amount and Type of Voting Equipment:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that:
- In 27 percent (from 17 to 39 percent), officials believe not having
enough voting machines was a contributing factor;
- In 11 percent (from; * 5 to 20 percent), officials believe the type
of voting method or machine used was a contributing factor;
* Of the jurisdictions nationwide making changes to address the causes
of long wait times, we estimate that:
= Twenty-nine percent (from 17 to 44 percent) have revised or are
revising polices or procedures related to the number of voting
machines;
- Eighteen percent (from 9 to 31 percent) have revised or are revising
policies or procedures related to the type of voting method or machine
used;
* Officials in 18 states said that they used policies associated with
voting equipment on Election Day 2012 to minimize wait times. In
particular, officials in 5 states noted their decision to use optical
scan machines to address wait times. According to officials in 1 of
these states, using such machines gave them additional flexibility in
managing wait times because they could set up additional privacy
booths if needed.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of interviews with state election officials.
[End of text box]
A number of factors could affect voter wait times across more than one
stage of the voting process. Such crosscutting factors include:
* Number and layout of polling places. Polling places need to meet
numerous requirements, including being sizable enough to accommodate
the expected number of voters; having sufficient parking available;
and complying with federal and state accessibility requirements,
including those in the Americans with Disabilities Act.[Footnote 60]
In addition, polling places can have differing layouts for moving the
voter from arrival to ballot submission.
Text box:
Perspectives on Number and Layout of Polling Places:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 14 percent (from 6
to 24 percent), officials believe not having enough polling places was
a contributing factor, and in 33 percent (from 22 to 45 percent),
officials believe the design or layout of polling places was a
contributing factor;
* Of the jurisdictions making changes to address the causes of long
wait times, we estimate that 65 percent (from; * 50 to 78) have
revised or are revising policies or procedures related to the design
or layout of polling places;
* Election officials in 13 states and the District of Columbia
reported that issues associated with the polling place, such as
location, size, and layout, contributed or could contribute to longer
than expected wait times on Election Day;
* Some researchers have suggested that schools be used as polling
places. For example, the Presidential Commission recommended that
states authorize the use of schools as polling places because they
typically are large, conveniently located, and comply with federal
accessibility requirements. The commission stated that security
concerns could be addressed by making Election Day an in-service day
for students and teachers.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions, analysis of
interviews with state election officials and election researchers, and
Presidential Commission 2014 report on election administration.
[End of text box]
* Number and training of poll workers. Effective polling place
management requires having a sufficient number of poll workers to
serve voters and training these workers to efficiently move voters
through the voting process and resolve problems. According to our
survey, almost all jurisdictions provided standardized training for
poll workers. We estimate that the average training jurisdictions
provided for typical first-time poll workers was 2.9 hours (from 2.7
to 3.1 hours), and the average training they provided for typical
returning poll workers was 2.6 hours (from 2.4 to 2.7 hours) for
Election Day 2012.
Text box:
Perspectives on Number and Training of Poll Workers:
* On the basis of our survey results, of the jurisdictions nationwide
that had wait times officials considered too long at a few or more
polling places on Election Day, we estimate that in 36 percent (from
25 to 48 percent), officials believe training of poll workers was a
contributing factor, and in 26 percent (from 16 to 38 percent),
officials believe not enough poll workers was a contributing factor;
* Of the jurisdictions making changes to address the causes of long
wait times, we estimate that:
- Seventy-four percent (from 60 to 86 percent) have revised or are
revising policies or procedures related to training of poll workers;
- Sixty-seven percent (from 52 to 80 percent) have revised or are
revising polices or procedures related to the number of poll workers
at polling places;
* Election officials in 29 states and the District of Columbia said
they used or plan to use policies associated with poll workers to
minimize wait times. In particular, officials in 21 states emphasized
poll worker training as something they used to minimize wait times on
Election Day 2012.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of interviews with state election officials.
[End of text box]
* Voter education. Voter education encompasses providing voters with
the information they need to efficiently navigate the voting process.
According to our survey, the most common types of information that
jurisdictions provided to educate the public prior to the November
2012 general election were specific polling place location
information, sample ballots, and information about options to vote
before Election Day.
Text box:
Perspectives on Voter Education:
* Of the 291 jurisdictions that responded to our open-ended survey
question regarding what policies and procedures were most important to
minimizing wait times, 44 cited practices related to voter education;
* Election officials in 15 states and the District of Columbia
reported that, in an effort to minimize wait times, either the state
or jurisdictions within the state took steps to educate voters by, for
example, providing sample ballots, polling place information, or real-
time information about wait times on Election Day 2012.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions and analysis
of interviews with state election officials.
[End of text box]
* Resource availability and allocation. The amount of resources
available to jurisdictions and how these resources are allocated
relate to the other factors we have identified. For example, resource
availability and allocation influence the number of voting machines
and poll workers in each polling place, as well as jurisdictions'
voter education efforts. Jurisdictions' resource planning efforts can
encompass preparing for expected voter turnout and requesting and
distributing resources to help reduce voter wait times. According to
our survey, most jurisdictions had enough resources on Election Day
2012 and resource shortages were rare. We estimate that in 81 percent
(from 77 to 85 percent) of jurisdictions, officials believe they had
enough resources to comfortably conduct operations on Election Day; in
17 percent (from 13 to 22 percent), officials believe that resources
were tight but Election Day operations were conducted as planned; and
in 2 percent (from 1 to 4 percent), officials believe there were
resource shortages and some Election Day operations were affected by
these shortages. Our survey results also show that most jurisdictions
tended to use general types of data, such as the number of registered
voters, to inform their resource allocation among polling places, and
typically did not use more specific measures, such as the estimated
average time needed to check in voters. For example, we estimate that
89 percent (from 84 to 92 percent) of jurisdictions used the number of
registered voters in each polling place to inform their resource
allocation, and 31 percent (from 25 to 36 percent) used the estimated
average time needed to check in voters.[Footnote 61]
Text box:
Perspectives on Resource Availability and Allocation:
* Of the 291 jurisdictions that responded to our open-ended survey
question regarding what policies and procedures were most important to
minimizing wait times, 168--or over half--indicated areas related to
Election Day resources, such as better allocation or increasing the
number of poll workers or voting machines. In addition, of the 173
jurisdictions that responded to our open-ended question regarding what
the federal government could do to help address long voter wait times,
100 mentioned providing funding or enacting policies related to
additional election resources, such as voting equipment;
* Studies we reviewed and researchers we interviewed noted a
relationship between the allocation of resources and wait times. For
example,
- The Presidential Commission noted that it is usually the allocation
of resources between polling places, rather than the total resources
available, that causes long lines. The Presidential Commission and
researchers with whom we spoke suggested jurisdictions seeking to
reduce voter wait times use resource allocation methods that
incorporate targeted inputs--such as estimated turnout by hour and
estimated average service times for voter check-in and ballot
completion;
- The Brennan Center for Justice noted relationships between resource
shortages and voter wait times at the end of the day on Election Day
2012 after analyzing relevant data for studied counties in Florida,
Maryland, and South Carolina. The Brennan Center reported that for the
selected counties in Florida and South Carolina, the 2 states they
examined that had data on how poll workers were allocated, lines were
generally longer when poll workers had to serve more voters. The
Brennan Center also reported that, in general, for studied counties
across all 3 states, the more registered voters a machine had to
serve, the longer the delay.[A]
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions, Brennan
Center 2014 report on Election Day long lines, and Presidential
Commission 2014 report on election administration.
[A] Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law,
Election Day Long Lines: Resource Allocation (New York, New York:
September 2014).
[End of text box]
Impact of Factors Varied across Jurisdictions:
Multiple factors affected wait times on Election Day 2012 in the 5
local jurisdictions we selected for interviews. We selected these
jurisdictions based on wait times, election administration policies,
and demographic characteristics, among other things, to reflect a
range of local experiences and illustrate how factors affected wait
times in practice. While the nine factors we identified apply
generally across all jurisdictions, their specific impact on Election
Day 2012 wait times depended on the unique circumstances in each of
our selected jurisdictions, leading to targeted approaches for
reducing wait times where needed and where resources allowed. Table 2
summarizes reported wait times and election administration
characteristics related to these nine factors across our 5 selected
jurisdictions.
Table 2: Reported Wait Times and Characteristics on Election Day 2012
across Five Selected Jurisdictions:
Reported wait times: Reported polling places with wait times of
greater than 60 minutes on November 2012 Election Day;
Jurisdiction 1: More than half of all polling places;
Jurisdiction 2: More than half of all polling places;
Jurisdiction 3: About half of all polling places;
Jurisdiction 4: Less than half but more than a few polling places;
Jurisdiction 5: No polling places.
Factor: Reported jurisdiction characteristics:
Number of registered voters;
Jurisdiction 1: 248,940;
Jurisdiction 2: 586,854;
Jurisdiction 3: 51,357;
Jurisdiction 4: 388,425;
Jurisdiction 5: 4,674,338.
In-person voting on Election Day;
Jurisdiction 1: 155,176;
Jurisdiction 2: 210,183;
Jurisdiction 3: 33,731;
Jurisdiction 4: 126,351;
Jurisdiction 5: 2,577,135.
Opportunities for voting before Election Day: Percentage of votes cast
before Election Day (e.g., any type of early, absentee, and mail-in
ballots);
Jurisdiction 1: 14%;
Jurisdiction 2: 28%;
Jurisdiction 3: 8%;
Jurisdiction 4: 53%;
Jurisdiction 5: 27%.
Type of poll books: Type of poll book used;
Jurisdiction 1: Electronic;
Jurisdiction 2: Electronic and paper;
Jurisdiction 3: Paper;
Jurisdiction 4: Paper;
Jurisdiction 5: Paper.
Determining voter eligibility: Percentage provisional voting on
Election Day;
Jurisdiction 1: 0.2%;
Jurisdiction 2: .01%;
Jurisdiction 3: 1%;
Jurisdiction 4: 1%;
Jurisdiction 5: 12%.
Ballot characteristics:
Average number of pages/screens on ballots;
Jurisdiction 1: 6 screens;
Jurisdiction 2: 4 pages;
Jurisdiction 3: 2 pages;
Jurisdiction 4: 8 pages;
Jurisdiction 5: 7 pages.
Total number of elected offices and ballot questions placed on
applicable ballots jurisdiction-wide;
Jurisdiction 1: 6 elected offices; 2 ballot questions;
Jurisdiction 2: 26 elected offices; 18 ballot questions;
Jurisdiction 3: 6 elected offices; 1 ballot question;
Jurisdiction 4: 54 elected offices; 14 ballot questions;
Jurisdiction 5: 90 elected offices; 53 ballot questions.
Ballot in more than one language;
Jurisdiction 1: No;
Jurisdiction 2: No;
Jurisdiction 3: Yes;
Jurisdiction 4: Yes;
Jurisdiction 5: Yes.
Amount and type of voting equipment: Predominant type of voting method;
Jurisdiction 1: Direct recording electronic;
Jurisdiction 2: Optical scan;
Jurisdiction 3: Optical scan;
Jurisdiction 4: Optical scan;
Jurisdiction 5: Optical scan.
Number and layout of polling places:
Number of precincts and polling places;
Jurisdiction 1: 77 precincts; 77 polling places;
Jurisdiction 2: 490 precincts; 200 polling places;
Jurisdiction 3: 24 precincts; 24 polling places;
Jurisdiction 4: 125 precincts; 88 polling places;
Jurisdiction 5: 4,993 precincts; 4,621 polling places.
Average number of registered voters per precinct;
Jurisdiction 1: 3,233;
Jurisdiction 2: 1,198;
Jurisdiction 3: 2,140;
Jurisdiction 4: 3,107;
Jurisdiction 5: 936.
Number and training of poll workers:
Average number of poll workers per precinct;
Jurisdiction 1: 10;
Jurisdiction 2: 12;
Jurisdiction 3: 16;
Jurisdiction 4: 12;
Jurisdiction 5: 6.
Poll worker training (hours);
Jurisdiction 1: Supervisor--3.5; First-time worker--2; Returning
worker--2;
Jurisdiction 2: Supervisor--10; First-time worker--15; Returning
worker--5;
Jurisdiction 3: Supervisor--8; First-time worker--8; Returning worker--
8;
Jurisdiction 4: Supervisor--5; First-time worker--4; Returning worker--
3;
Jurisdiction 5: Supervisor--3; First-time worker--2.5; Returning
worker--2.5.
Voter education:
Sample ballots by mail;
Jurisdiction 1: No;
Jurisdiction 2: Yes;
Jurisdiction 3: No;
Jurisdiction 4: Yes;
Jurisdiction 5: Yes.
Specific polling place information by mail;
Jurisdiction 1: Yes;
Jurisdiction 2: Yes;
Jurisdiction 3: No;
Jurisdiction 4: Yes;
Jurisdiction 5: Yes.
Resource availability and allocation: Views on availability of
resources;
Jurisdiction 1: Resource shortages;
Jurisdiction 2: Enough resources;
Jurisdiction 3: Resource shortages;
Jurisdiction 4: Resource shortages;
Jurisdiction 5: Enough resources.
Source: GAO 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions. GAO-14-850.
[End of table]
Jurisdiction 1:
Jurisdiction 1 reported in our survey that more than half of all its
polling places had wait times of greater than 60 minutes on Election
Day 2012. In addition, the last voter checked in over 2 hours after
the precinct's designated closing time at 10 of the jurisdiction's 77
precincts, according to data provided by jurisdiction officials. The
jurisdiction reported that Election Day wait times in 2008 were about
the same as those in 2012, but officials said that the lines in 2008
were concentrated in the morning with few lines at closing. Officials
stated that the long lines on Election Day 2012 were caused by a
variety of factors.
According to jurisdiction officials, an insufficient number of voting
machines was a primary cause of long voter wait times. Officials said
that state laws (1) prohibited the jurisdiction from purchasing
additional DRE voting machines and (2) did not allow for the use of on-
hand emergency paper ballots that could be hand-counted in addition to
the use of DRE machines.[Footnote 62] As a result, the jurisdiction
used roughly the same number of DRE machines in 2012 as in 2008
despite a 14 percent increase in Election Day votes cast, and was
unable to deploy paper ballots to help mitigate long lines. Officials
stated that they were limited in their ability to add voting capacity
at polling places with the longest lines because all DRE machines were
already deployed and it was not practical to reprogram the machines
for use at precincts that may have had greater needs.
Issues with determining voter eligibility, primarily resulting from
the large number of inactive voters, was another key factor that
contributed to long wait times.[Footnote 63] Voters marked as inactive
on the jurisdiction's registration rolls were required to fill out
Affirmation of Eligibility forms to verify their addresses, and the
number of these forms filled out by voters on Election Day 2012 was
more than 12 times higher than in 2008.[Footnote 64] Further,
according to the jurisdiction's postelection report, available data
indicate that every voter requiring an address confirmation using this
process resulted in three additional voters checking in after precinct
closing time.[Footnote 65]
Jurisdiction officials explained that their policy was to move all
voters with check-in problems out of the main line and direct them to
the precinct supervisor for resolution. Officials said that this
helped to alleviate wait times at the main check-in line to some
extent, but there were still delays because of the time it took to
identify issues and direct voters to the supervisor, among other
things. In addition, officials noted that these voters diverted
resources from voters without difficulties. Officials also said that
according to an analysis performed by the former Acting Registrar and
a postelection task force established by the jurisdiction, the biggest
factor in late precinct closing times was the number of voters with
issues requiring assistance from the precinct supervisor. In addition
to issues with determining voter eligibility, other matters that
required assistance from the supervisor included voters with
disabilities or voters over the age of 65 who chose to vote from their
vehicles outside the polling place (curbside voters), as allowed by
state law, and voters who brought their absentee ballots to precincts
on Election Day. Officials noted that when precinct supervisors called
the registrar's office to resolve issues that required additional
assistance, the office could not keep up with demand.
The large numbers of voters in each precinct also contributed to long
lines. Specifically, according to the jurisdiction's postelection
report, there was a high correlation between large precincts and the
number of citizens voting after precinct closing time, and two of the
four precincts with over 5,000 registered voters checked in their last
voter over 2-1/2 hours after closing time.
Finally, jurisdiction officials said that recruitment and retention of
poll workers was challenging. According to these officials, poll
worker experience is important for managing polling locations on
Election Day, but there is a roughly 50 percent drop in retention from
election to election, and presidential elections generally require a
large number of poll workers to handle greater levels of voter turnout.
Jurisdiction officials stated that one precinct in particular faced a
confluence of factors that contributed to its remaining open nearly 4
hours after its official closing time on Election Day 2012.
Text box:
Example of How Factors Combined to Create Long Wait Times in an
Individual Precinct:
Jurisdiction officials and a precinct official cited several factors
that combined to create long wait times:
* Total turnout increased by 63 percent--from 2,104 in 2008 to 3,425
in 2012;
* Large number of first-time and inactive voters who can take longer
to check in and vote[A];
* Large number of curbside voters, which under state law required the
assistance of two poll workers when a portable electronic voting
device was used;
* Large number of voters needing language assistance. Such assistance
required that both the voter and the assisting poll worker fill out
separate forms before the poll worker provided translation services.[B]
Source: Analysis of interviews with officials from the local election
jurisdiction and a precinct within the jurisdiction.
[A] The Acting Registrar on Election Day 2012 stated that the
jurisdiction retrieved data on the time spent voting from three voting
machines in the jurisdiction, one of which was in this precinct. He
said that these data showed that on average, voters in this precinct
took 3 minutes and 30 seconds to cast their ballots, whereas voters
using the voting machines from the other two precincts took an average
of between 1 minute and 1 minute and 20 seconds.
[B] For Election Day 2012, this jurisdiction did not meet the
requirements of the coverage formula under section 203 or 4(f)(4) of
the Voting Rights Act, and as a result, was not required to provide
instructions and ballots, among other things, in the language of
applicable minority groups, as well as in English. Voting Rights Act
Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg.
63602-07 (Oct. 11, 2013); 28 C.F.R. § 55.5.
[End of text box]
According to officials, jurisdiction 1 has made or is in the process
of making several changes to address the causes of long voter wait
times on Election Day 2012. The jurisdiction reported that it is
replacing its DRE voting machines with optical scanners (for scanning
paper ballots), which allow for more flexibility in adding voting
station capacity. The jurisdiction also plans on maintaining adequate
scanners and personnel in reserve to handle any equipment failures
that might arise, and officials noted that scanners can be easily
transferred among precincts. In addition, the jurisdiction reported
that it is purchasing more electronic poll books to help check in
voters more efficiently and that its Electoral Board has tested
scanners (capable of scanning driver's licenses and voter cards) to be
used with the electronic poll books for instantaneous and accurate
voter check-in. Additionally, the jurisdiction has added 14 precincts
and reduced the largest precincts to fewer than 4,000 registered
voters, according to jurisdiction officials. The jurisdiction's
Electoral Board believes that these and other changes will allow it to
meet the jurisdiction's newly established goal of having no voters
expend more than 30 minutes from the time they arrive at the polling
place until they cast their ballots.
Jurisdiction 2:
Jurisdiction 2 reported in our survey that more than half of its
polling places had wait times of greater than 60 minutes on Election
Day 2012. In addition, it reported average wait times of more than 120
minutes in the hour after polls opened and the hour before polls
closed. Jurisdiction officials stated that despite the long voter wait
times in 2012, things went more smoothly than in 2008. This was in
part because of measures implemented to address the issue, such as
voter education and increasing the number of voting stations at
polling places, as advised by state guidance distributed shortly
before the 2012 presidential election.[Footnote 66]
According to jurisdiction officials, the length of the ballot--four 22-
inch pages--was the primary cause of long voter wait times. Officials
noted that ballot length, including the number of elected offices and
ballot questions, is outside of the jurisdiction's control. Prior to
the election, the jurisdiction tested the time required to complete
the ballot on a variety of constituencies and found that it took
voters unfamiliar with the ballot between 12 and 15 minutes to
complete it.[Footnote 67] Officials stated that they implemented
measures to try to alleviate the expected congestion at the voting
booths, such as increasing the number of booths at polling locations,
mailing sample ballots to registered voters, and employing line
monitors to help ensure that voters were prepared to vote immediately
after check-in.[Footnote 68]
Furthermore, officials stated that in some instances, lines formed at
the scanning machines because voters were trying to feed the long
ballots into the machines too quickly and caused paper jams. In these
cases, technicians were available to address problems and poll workers
stepped in to take over the scanning. The jurisdiction also maintained
a reserve supply of 100 scanners to replace machines that could not be
fixed by technicians. Nonetheless, the jurisdiction reported that
voters waited in line an average of 16 to 30 minutes to turn in their
ballots after completing them.
According to officials, the jurisdiction does not plan to make any
changes to its policies and procedures to address long wait times.
They noted that the long wait times in the 2012 election were
primarily caused by a lengthy ballot, which is outside of their
control.
Jurisdiction 3:
Jurisdiction 3 reported in our survey that about half of its polling
places had wait times of greater than 60 minutes on Election Day 2012,
and that typical wait times in 2012 were less than those in 2008.
According to jurisdiction officials, the additional time spent
determining voter eligibility, and issuing provisional ballots, as
necessary, was the primary cause for long lines in their jurisdiction.
Key factors contributing to delays in determining voter eligibility
were:
* Redistricting. Jurisdiction officials stated that redistricting
increased the number of voters who went to the wrong polling location
because their polling place had changed from the previous election.
These officials explained that redistricting changed the location of
all but one of the voting precincts in their jurisdiction.[Footnote 69]
* Inactive voters. According to jurisdiction officials, there was a
large number of inactive voters who had not voted in at least two
general elections. Officials stated that delays were caused by time
spent assisting these voters--by, for example, calling the election
office to request further research--and updating their status on voter
registration lists.
* Inaccurate voter registration information. According to jurisdiction
officials, inaccurate voter registration information may have also
caused delays in determining voter eligibility. An official stated
that poll workers directed most voters who said they were registered
but were not included in the state's list of registered voters to the
jurisdiction's central office, where Election Day registration was
conducted.[Footnote 70] An investigation initiated by the state after
Election Day found that some voter registration forms had not been
forwarded to the election office and a number of voter requests for
registration information had not been processed by a third-party state
agency.[Footnote 71] Jurisdiction officials believe that this
contributed to the number of individuals who thought they had
submitted registration materials but were not registered, leading to
delays in checking in voters on Election Day. In addition, officials
noted that many voters were unaware of the need to update their
registration information with each address change. This led to voters
arriving at the wrong polling places and requiring additional
assistance during check-in.
Further, jurisdiction officials stated that redistricting required
locating new polling places to serve the new precincts and noted the
challenges they faced in doing so. Specifically, they said that it was
difficult to find polling places that had the necessary space and
parking and were compliant with federal and state polling place
accessibility requirements. They noted that they primarily try to use
churches, community centers, and schools as polling places. However,
they said that while schools tend to have the necessary space and
layout to help process voters efficiently, using schools has become
more challenging in recent years because of security concerns. In
addition, principals are concerned about the potential disruptions
that the polling activities might have on students. Jurisdiction
officials noted that 9 schools were used as polling places in 2012,
down from the 14 generally used during previous elections.
Jurisdiction officials said that their elections budget limits the
changes they can implement to address wait times. For example,
officials stated that additional voter education could help address
some of the issues with determining voter eligibility that were
experienced on Election Day 2012, such as voters arriving at the wrong
polling place, but their jurisdiction lacks the resources to provide
this education.
Jurisdiction 4:
Jurisdiction 4 reported in our survey that less than half, but more
than a few, of its polling places had wait times of greater than 60
minutes on Election Day 2012. In addition, 26 percent of its precincts
remained open over 3 hours after the designated closing time,
according to data provided by jurisdiction election officials. These
officials stated that the jurisdiction did not have wait time issues
in 2008 of which they were aware and that a confluence of factors
created the long wait times in 2012.
According to jurisdiction officials, lengthy ballots--an average of
eight 17-inch pages--were the primary cause of long voter wait times.
Factors contributing to the long ballots included (1) 12 state
constitutional amendments that spanned five pages; (2) state
requirements to include special district races, such as fire control,
mosquito control, and community development districts, on the ballots;
[Footnote 72] and (3) the Voting Rights Act requirement to include
both English and Spanish on the ballots.[Footnote 73] Officials said
that voters took a significant amount of time to fill out their
ballots, which resulted in congestion at voting booths in some polling
places. In addition, these officials stated that the long ballots led
to paper jams when voters scanned their ballots, contributing to
average wait times of more than 30 minutes to turn in ballots after
completing them. According to jurisdiction officials, the length of
the ballot for the November 2012 election was not determined until mid-
June because of the timing for determining qualifying candidates and
state amendments. Officials said that they sent out sample ballots to
help educate voters, but did not have sufficient time to effectively
plan or take additional actions to help mitigate the effects.
Jurisdiction officials said that the second key cause of long wait
times on Election Day was state-wide reductions in the number of days
and limited locations available for in-person early voting. State
legislation changed the number of allowable early voting days from 14
days in 2008 to 8 days in 2012.[Footnote 74] In addition, officials
said that existing state law limited the sites that could be used for
early voting to a few types of public buildings, which created
challenges with finding locations that could conveniently and
effectively serve voters.[Footnote 75] Election officials reported
that while there were about 5,500 fewer total voters in 2012 compared
with the 2008 general election (a 2 percent decrease), approximately
14,500 fewer people voted early (a 22 percent decrease). As a result,
more voters than expected came to the polls on Election Day and the
jurisdiction did not have enough resources to effectively accommodate
them, according to officials. For example, officials stated that there
was an insufficient number of voting booths and scanners in some
polling locations because of both the larger than expected turnout and
the time needed to fill out and scan long ballots.
Jurisdiction officials said that other factors also contributed to
wait times. For example, they stated that redistricting and precinct
consolidations may have increased the number of voters who went to the
wrong polling location because their polling place had changed from
the previous election.[Footnote 76] Officials stated that they
consolidated precincts--reducing the number from 171 in 2008 to 125 in
2012--in an effort to lower election expenditures, but that this may
have contributed to long lines by increasing the number of voters in
certain polling locations. Further, officials said that heavy rain on
Election Day led to line management issues in some locations because
poll workers were checking in more voters than their polling place
could accommodate to get voters out of the rain. This contributed to
the congestion at the voting booths and scanning machines.
Jurisdiction officials said that a number of changes have been made
since the 2012 election to address long wait times. For example, state
laws established additional word limits to state constitutional
amendments on the ballot,[Footnote 77] restored the allowable number
of early voting days to 2008 levels, and expanded the types of sites
that can be used for early voting locations.[Footnote 78] In addition,
the jurisdiction has replaced the paper poll books used in 2012 with
electronic poll books, which officials anticipate will help expedite
the check-in process; better estimate voter turnout for resource
allocation; and allow them to post current wait times for each
precinct online, which would help voters identify times to go to the
polls if they do not want to wait. According to officials, the
jurisdiction also purchased an additional 100 optical scanners so that
each precinct will have 2 scanners. In addition, officials said that
they have launched voter education efforts, such as public service
announcements on radio, television, and other forms of media, to
encourage mail-in voting and inform voters about how to access voter
registration and polling place information. Further, these officials
noted that as of 2014, the jurisdiction began paying the return
postage on mail-in ballots.
Jurisdiction 5:
Jurisdiction 5 reported in our survey that it had no polling places
with wait times of greater than 60 minutes on Election Day 2012 and
that typical wait times in 2012 were less than those in 2008. This
jurisdiction had ballots that were seven pages long on average and a
high percentage of provisional voters but reported that it did not
experience long voter wait times.
Jurisdiction officials said that the county provided sufficient
resources for conducting the 2012 general election, which helped
ensure that long wait times did not occur. According to officials,
this allowed election planners to include a safety margin when
allocating resources in case of a larger than expected turnout and
deploy large amounts of additional resources to polling places that
were expected to have higher numbers of voters or substantial issues
with determining voter eligibility on Election Day 2012.
Jurisdiction officials reported that provisional voting accounted for
12 percent of total in-person voting on Election Day 2012.[Footnote
79] These officials said that the jurisdiction's practice of taking
individuals whose eligibility to vote is unclear out of the main check-
in line and administering provisional ballots, if needed, in another
area of the polling place was important to reducing wait times. They
also noted that the jurisdiction's policy of permitting all voters
experiencing eligibility issues to vote provisionally and not
adjudicating these issues at the polling place reduced the time and
resources expended on problems at check-in. In addition, state law
allowed individuals to vote provisionally in precincts other than the
one to which they were assigned and have applicable votes on their
ballots counted.[Footnote 80] This helped expedite the processing of
individuals whose eligibility to vote was unclear and reduced wait
times, according to jurisdiction officials.
Jurisdiction officials stated that a number of other policies and
practices helped minimize wait times on Election Day 2012. For example,
* Officials said that limiting the number of voters in each precinct
helped prevent overcrowding and congestion at polling places. State
law mandates a maximum of 1,000 registered voters per
precinct.[Footnote 81] Officials noted that they need to ensure the
jurisdiction has sufficient polling places, poll workers, and voting
equipment to support the number of precincts required to meet this
requirement.
* According to jurisdiction officials, mailing sample ballots to
registered voters helped to shorten the time it took to fill out
ballots in the voting booth.[Footnote 82] A polling place inspector--
who supervises polling place operations and staff--we interviewed said
that the lengthy ballot did not result in long wait times at her
polling place on Election Day 2012 because many voters brought in
their sample ballots and knew how they would vote. She also noted that
this helped facilitate check-in because voters' names and addresses
were on the sample ballot.
* Officials said that permanent absentee voting and no-excuse absentee
voting by mail, permitted by state law, reduced the number of voters
on Election Day.
* Officials also stated that poll worker training, which includes how
to assist provisional voters and what to do if wait-time-related
issues arise, and having experienced poll workers were important to
ensuring minimal lines at polling places.[Footnote 83] According to
officials, the majority of poll workers have served in previous
elections. In addition, officials said that having a pool of reserve
poll workers who can fill in at locations that need additional staff
was essential to reducing wait times.
* The jurisdiction deployed mobile units that travel to polling places
and distribute additional ballots and other supplies if needed,
according to officials.
Agency and Third-Party Comments:
We provided a draft of this report to the EAC for review and comment.
The EAC had no comments on the draft report, as noted in an e-mail
received on September 17, 2014, from the commission's Acting Executive
Director. We also provided excerpts of the draft report to the chief
election officials of each of the 5 local election jurisdictions that
we selected for interviews. The excerpts for each of these
jurisdictions included findings that pertained specifically to the
individual jurisdiction and a description of the methodology we
employed to select the 5 jurisdictions. One jurisdiction provided
written comments on the excerpts provided for review, which are
reproduced in full in appendix IV. The chief election official from
this jurisdiction stated that our description of the jurisdiction's
experiences was accurate, noted that a series of issues contributed to
the long wait times in the jurisdiction on Election Day 2012, and
noted the actions the jurisdiction had taken to address them. One
jurisdiction provided technical comments, which we incorporated in the
report as appropriate. Three jurisdictions reviewed the excerpts and
indicated that they had no comments in e-mails received from the
jurisdictions' chief election officials on September 8, September 17,
and September 22, 2014.
We are sending copies of this report to the Election Assistance
Commission, election offices in the 5 selected local jurisdictions
that participated in our research, appropriate congressional
committees and members, and other interested parties. In addition,
this report is available at no charge on GAO's website at [hyperlink,
http://www.gao.gov].
If you or your staff have any questions, please contact Rebecca
Gambler at (202) 512-8777 or gamblerr@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made significant
contributions to this report are listed in appendix V.
Signed by:
Rebecca Gambler:
Director, Homeland Security and Justice:
[End of section]
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:
This report addresses the following questions:
1. To what extent did local election jurisdictions collect data to
measure voter wait times and have long voter wait times on Election
Day 2012?
2. What factors affected voter wait times on Election Day 2012, and
what were the impacts of these factors across jurisdictions?
For both objectives, we (1) conducted a web-based survey of election
officials from a nationally representative stratified random sample of
423 local election jurisdictions, excluding jurisdictions with
populations of 10,000 or fewer and jurisdictions in Oregon and
Washington;[Footnote 84] (2) analyzed responses from the 2012
Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), a survey of U.S.
citizens aged 18 and over;[Footnote 85] (3) interviewed state election
officials from 47 states and the District of Columbia,[Footnote 86] as
well as local election administration officials, on-site or by phone,
from 5 selected local jurisdictions--Detroit, Michigan; Hartford,
Connecticut; Lee County, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; and
Prince William County, Virginia; and (4) interviewed officials from
the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and 14 researchers and
representatives from research organizations in the field of election
administration. We also reviewed relevant literature on voter wait
times, such as studies on wait times by various researchers and
reports completed or sponsored by state or local governments in our 5
selected jurisdictions.[Footnote 87] A GAO social scientist and a GAO
statistician reviewed the studies whose findings we cite in this
report and determined that the design, implementation, and analyses of
the studies were sufficiently sound to support the studies' results
and conclusions based on generally accepted social science principles.
2014 Survey of Local Election Jurisdictions:
To obtain national information from local election officials on voter
wait times on Election Day 2012, we conducted a web-based survey of
election officials from a stratified random sample of 423 local
election jurisdictions. We surveyed officials about any data their
jurisdictions collected related to wait times on Election Day 2012,
voter wait times in their jurisdictions on this day, and their views
on factors that affected long voter wait times, among other things. We
defined wait time as the time from when a voter entered the first line
to when he or she began filling out a ballot. Reported wait times may
be based on officials' perspectives, data, or other information on
wait times.[Footnote 88] Our survey period was from March 20, 2014,
through June 6, 2014, and we received 338 completed surveys for an
overall response rate of 80 percent.[Footnote 89]
Overall, there are about 10,500 local government jurisdictions
responsible for conducting elections nationwide. States can be divided
into two groups according to how they delegate election
responsibilities to local jurisdictions. The first group is composed
of 41 states that delegate election responsibilities primarily to
counties, with a few of these states delegating election
responsibilities to some cities, and 1 state that delegates these
responsibilities to election regions. We included the District of
Columbia in this group of states. The first group contains about one-
fourth of the local election jurisdictions nationwide. The second
group is composed of 9 states that delegate election responsibilities
to subcounty governmental units, known by the U.S. Census Bureau as
minor civil divisions (MCD). This group of states contains about three-
fourths of the local election jurisdictions nationwide. The
categorization of the 50 states and the District of Columbia by how
election responsibilities are organized is as follows (states in bold
delegate election responsibilities to some cities independently from
counties):
* County-level states: Alabama, Alaska (four election regions),
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of
Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,
South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West
Virginia, and Wyoming:
* Minor civil division-level states: Connecticut, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island,
Vermont, and Wisconsin:
While only about one-fourth of election jurisdictions nationwide are
in states that delegate election responsibilities primarily to
counties, according to the 2010 Census, 88 percent of the U.S.
population lived in these states. The U.S. population distribution
between the two state groups is shown in table 3.
Table 3: Population in Each State Group:
State group: County-level states;
Population in 2010: 269,700,327;
Percentage: 88%.
State group: Minor civil division-level states;
Population in 2010: 35,319,416;
Percentage: 12%.
State group: Total;
Population in 2010: 305,019,743;
Percentage: 100%.
Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. GAO-14-850.
[End of table]
Our sampling unit was the geographically distinct local election
jurisdiction at the county, city, or MCD level of local government
(or, in Alaska, the election region). The initial list of
jurisdictions for each state group above was constructed from the 2010
decennial Census data. Census population data were available for all
counties, county equivalents, and MCDs.[Footnote 90]
We excluded the states of Oregon and Washington because, as of the
November 2012 general election, they both were vote-by-mail states
where individuals generally do not go to polling places to vote. As a
result, our sample frame included jurisdictions in 48 states and the
District of Columbia. In addition, we excluded about 7,600
jurisdictions with populations of 10,000 or fewer because, on the
basis of our review of wait time research, jurisdictions of this size
were unlikely to have experienced long voter wait times.
We divided each state group--county-level and MCD-level--into strata
according to jurisdiction population size. We used jurisdiction
population size, rather than the number of eligible or registered
voters, to define sample strata because these Census data were readily
available for all counties and MCDs nationwide.[Footnote 91] County-
level states were divided into six strata, and MCD-level states were
divided into five strata. The allocation of units, or jurisdictions,
to strata is shown in table 4. We included all 108 jurisdictions in
strata with populations of greater than 500,000--strata 1, 2, and 7--
in our sample because, on the basis of our review of wait time
research, the largest jurisdictions were most likely to have
experienced long voter wait times. We then selected random samples of
jurisdictions in each of the remaining strata, applying a minimum
allocation of 20 jurisdictions per stratum. This resulted in a total
sample of 423 jurisdictions. Our sample allocation also allowed us to
have a random sample of local jurisdictions nationwide according to
population size--large, medium, and small. To group jurisdictions by
population size, we combined jurisdictions in like-sized population
strata in county-level and MCD-level states. We defined large
jurisdictions as those with a population greater than 500,000 (strata
1, 2, and 7), medium jurisdictions as those with a population of more
than 100,000 to 500,000 (strata 3 and 8), and small jurisdictions as
those with a population of more than 10,000 to 100,000 (strata 4, 5,
6, 9, 10, and 11). Upon completion of the survey, we adjusted the
sampling weights for nonresponse.[Footnote 92]
Table 4: Local Jurisdiction Election Survey Sample Allocation:
Stratum: County/city--greater than 1,000,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 34;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 34.
Stratum: County/city--from 500,001 to 1,000,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 71;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 71.
Stratum: County/city--from 100,001 to 500,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 383;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 41.
Stratum: County/city--from 50,001 to 100,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 326;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 35.
Stratum: County/city--from 25,001 to 50,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 543;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 56.
Stratum: County/city--from 10,001 to 25,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 752;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 76.
Stratum: Minor civil division--from 500,001 to 1,000,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 3;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 3.
Stratum: Minor civil division--from 100,001 to 500,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 22;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 20.
Stratum: Minor civil division--from 50,001 to 100,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 79;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 20.
Stratum: Minor civil division--from 25,001 to 50,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 175;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 20.
Stratum: Minor civil division--from 10,001 to 25,000;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 448;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 47.
Stratum: Total;
Number of jurisdictions in population: 2,836;
Number of jurisdictions sampled: 423.
Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data and allocation of
jurisdictions to sample. GAO-14-850.
[End of table]
We analyzed survey responses to provide nationwide estimates for
Election Day 2012 of any data collected on wait times, voter wait
times, views on the factors that affected long wait times, policies
and practices used, and any revisions to policies to address the
possible causes of long wait times, among other things.[Footnote 93]
All sample surveys are subject to sampling error--that is, the extent
to which the survey results differ from what would have been obtained
if the whole population had been observed. Because we followed a
probability procedure based on random selections, our sample is only
one of a large number of samples that we might have drawn. As each
sample could have provided different estimates, we express our
confidence in the precision of our particular sample's results as a 95
percent confidence interval (e.g., from x to y percent). This is the
interval that would contain the actual population value for 95 percent
of the samples we could have drawn. As a result, we are 95 percent
confident that each of the confidence intervals based on our survey
includes the true values in the sample population.
In addition to the reported sampling errors, the practical
difficulties of conducting any survey may introduce other types of
errors, commonly referred to as nonsampling errors. For example,
differences in how a particular question is interpreted, the sources
of information available to respondents, or the types of people who do
not respond can introduce unwanted variability into the survey
results. We took numerous steps in questionnaire development, data
collection, and the editing and analysis of the survey data to
minimize nonsampling errors. For example, a social science survey
specialist designed the draft questionnaire for local jurisdictions in
close collaboration with GAO subject matter experts. We also utilized
information from prior GAO reports, our review of studies on wait
times, and interviews with election administration researchers,
discussed below, to help inform the development of the
questionnaire.[Footnote 94] In addition, we pretested the survey in
person or by telephone with officials in 7 election jurisdictions of
various sizes in 5 states and made revisions, as necessary. The survey
questionnaire and aggregated responses for each question are included
in appendix II. Further, we omitted responses on all completed surveys
that fell outside of specified limits, such as when the reported
number of ballots cast was greater than the reported number of
registered voters in a jurisdiction, and called respondents in some
cases to obtain information where clarification was needed.
Analysis of 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study Data:
We analyzed responses from the 2012 CCES, a survey of U.S. citizens
aged 18 and over, to obtain state-level estimates of wait times
reported by voters for in-person voting on Election Day 2012.[Footnote
95] Specifically, CCES respondents were asked to estimate wait times
within specified response categories for the 2012 general election. To
estimate voter wait times on Election Day 2012, we replicated an
approach used by another researcher and estimated average wait times
by first recoding the response categories to the midpoint of the
category--for example, the "none at all" response was coded as 0
minutes, and the "1-10" response category was coded as 5 minutes.
[Footnote 96] Respondents who waited more than an hour were asked to
provide wait times in minutes. To assess the reliability of these
data, we reviewed documentation related to the 2012 CCES and
interviewed researchers knowledgeable about the survey. We determined
that the CCES data used in this report were sufficiently reliable for
our purposes.
Interviews with State and Local Jurisdiction Election Officials:
We interviewed state election officials from 47 states and the
District of Columbia to obtain such information as the availability of
data on voter wait times in their states for Election Day 2012 and
their views on policies and procedures that may have affected voter
wait times.[Footnote 97] Because of differences in election
administration across states, these officials were located in various
state offices, including state secretary of state or commonwealth
offices, boards of elections, and lieutenant governors' offices. We
corroborated the information we gathered through these interviews by
reviewing any documentation that these states provided, such as
guidance on planning elections and voter wait time reports.
We also interviewed local election officials, on-site or by phone,
from 5 local jurisdictions--Detroit, Michigan; Hartford, Connecticut;
Lee County, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; and Prince
William County, Virginia--to perform a more detailed examination of
their experiences on Election Day 2012, including how, if at all, they
measured wait times, their views on the factors that affected wait
times in their respective jurisdictions on Election Day 2012, and
their perspectives on the specific impacts of these factors, among
other things. We selected these jurisdictions (1) to reflect variation
in geographic location and demographic characteristics, and (2) based
on our survey results, CCES results, and our review of the wait time
literature, to include a range of voter wait times and election
administration policies and practices. For example, in our survey, 4
of the 5 selected jurisdictions reported having varying extents of
long wait times and 1 reported not having long wait times. In each
jurisdiction, we interviewed the chief election official; other
officials from the elections office; and, if available, individuals
who had served as poll workers at polling locations in the
jurisdiction on Election Day 2012. While these 5 jurisdictions are not
representative of all election jurisdictions nationwide and their
responses cannot be generalized to other local election jurisdictions,
officials in these locations provided a range of perspectives on voter
wait times and information on how factors affected wait times in
practice and allowed us to compare Election Day 2012 experiences
across jurisdictions. We corroborated the information we gathered
through these interviews by reviewing postelection reports, relevant
state statutes, and documentation that these jurisdictions provided to
us, such as data relating to voter wait times and poll worker training
materials. We interviewed officials from these jurisdictions between
May and July 2014.
Interviews with Election Administration Researchers:
We also interviewed officials from the Election Assistance Commission
and 14 researchers and representatives from research organizations in
the field of election administration to discuss their research and
perspectives on wait time measurement and voter wait times.[Footnote
98] We selected these researchers and representatives based on our
review of voter wait time literature, their expertise and work in this
area, and recommendations from these and other researchers. The
information that we obtained cannot be generalized to other
researchers; however, these interviews provided a range of views on
such areas as practices for measuring wait times, the frequency of
long voter wait times, and factors affecting wait times.
We conducted this performance audit from July 2013 to September 2014
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
[End of section]
Appendix II: Aggregated Results from Nationwide Survey of Local
Election Jurisdictions:
The questions we asked in our survey of local election jurisdictions
are shown below. Our survey was composed of closed-and open-ended
questions. In this appendix, we include all survey questions and
aggregate results of responses to the closed-ended questions; we do
not provide information on responses provided to the open-ended
questions. For a more detailed discussion of our survey methodology,
see appendix I.
Definitions:
Throughout this questionnaire, we use certain terms. For example:
The term "your jurisdiction" means your local election jurisdiction.
Also, when we refer to "voter wait time", we mean the time from when a
voter entered the first line to when they began filling out a ballot.
We recognize that the time spent filling out or submitting a ballot
may affect the wait time of later voters in line, but we would like
you to consider the voter wait time to be only the time a voter waits
prior to filling out a ballot. We have also included additional
questions in this questionnaire about the time it took to turn in a
ballot.
1. What is the name, title, and telephone number of the primary person
completing this questionnaire so that we may contact someone if we
need to clarify any responses?
Name:
Title:
Telephone number:
Email:
Part I: Local Jurisdiction Characteristics:
2. Approximately how many polling places and precincts were there in
your jurisdiction on the November 2012 General Election Day? [open
ended]
Number of polling places:
Number of precincts:
3. On the November 2012 General Election Day, what was the total
number of all registered voters in your jurisdiction? [open ended]
Number of all registered voters:
4. Did your jurisdiction collect, receive, or have available
information that would allow you to calculate or estimate voter wait
times that occurred at individual polling places on the November 2012
General Election Day? (Please check one response):
Response: Yes (Skip to question 6);
Estimated percentage: 16.0%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.0%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.7%.
Response: No (Go to question 5);
Estimated percentage: 78.3%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.5%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.1%.
Response: Don't know (Skip to question 6);
Estimated percentage: 5.7%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.3%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1%.
5. IF No: Which of the following, if any, were reasons your
jurisdiction did NOT collect, receive, or have available information
on voter wait time? (Check all that apply):
Response: 5a. Too expensive to collect;
Estimated percentage: 2.8%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.8%.
Response: 5b. Unsure how to collect such data;
Estimated percentage: 9.1%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.7%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 13.7%.
Response: 5c. Data required to calculate voter wait times were not
available;
Estimated percentage: 10.4%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.7%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.2%.
Response: 5d. No requirements existed to collect such data;
Estimated percentage: 46.8%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 40.2%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 53.3%.
Response: 5e. Voter wait time has not been an issue;
Estimated percentage: 78.8%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.4%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.1%.
Response: 5f. Voter wait times were not a specified goal of our
Election Day activities;
Estimated percentage: 14.1%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.0%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.1%.
Response: 5g. Other (please specify below);
Estimated percentage: 2.1%;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.7%;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.6%.
For what other reason(s) did your jurisdiction not collect, receive,
or have available information on voter wait times? [open ended]
6. Did your jurisdiction collect, receive, or have available any of
the following information for the November 2012 General Election Day?
(Check one response on each row):
6a. The time individuals checked into a polling place recorded by an
electronic poll book:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 17.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 63.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 68.8.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 17.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.5.
6b. The time individuals checked into a polling place, recorded by a
method other than an electronic poll book:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 5.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.3.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 79.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 74.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.1.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 12.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.2.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.3.
Response: 6c. The number of votes cast at a polling place during
specific time periods:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 30.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.0.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 57.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 51.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 63.5.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 8.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.0.
Response: 6d. The time votes were cast based on the voting machine
time stamp:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 14.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.0.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 64.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 58.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 69.8.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 15.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 11.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.0.
Response: 6e. Voter complaints about wait times at polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 16.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.9.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 66.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 60.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 71.7.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 18.1.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 7.1.
Response: 6f. The length of time polling places remained open after
designated closing times:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 17.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.9.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 52.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 46.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 58.2.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 26.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 21.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 31.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.0.
Response: 6g. Observations of voter wait times at polling places by
election officials:
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 36.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 30.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 41.8.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 53.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 47.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 58.9.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 7.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.4.
Response: 6h. Other information related to voter wait time (please
specify below):
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 4.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 7.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 63.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 69.0.
Response: Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 21.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 16.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.3.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.2.
[End of table]
What other information did your jurisdiction collect, receive, or have
available on voter wait time? [open ended]
7. Did your jurisdiction make a formal calculation of voter wait times
that occurred on the November 2012 General Election Day? (Please check
one response):
Response: Yes (Go to question 8);
Estimated percentage: 4.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 7.2.
Response: No (Skip to question 9);
Estimated percentage: 94.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 90.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 96.5.
Response: Don't know (Skip to question 9);
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.3.
[End of table]
8. How did you calculate voter wait times? Please include the types of
data you collected that you used to calculate voter wait times as well
as the method you used to analyze the data. [open-ended]
9. What type of polling place level data, if any, did your
jurisdiction use when allocating resources for the November 2012
General Election Day? (Check one response on each row):
9a. Registered voters:
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 78.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.1.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.7.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 7.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.1.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.9.
9b. Active voters;
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 69.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 63.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 74.7.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 13.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 18.6.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 12.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 4.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.0.
9c. Voter turnout from previous presidential general election(s);
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 60.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 55.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 66.5.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 17.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.9.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 16.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 4.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.2.
9d. Voter turnout by hour from previous presidential general
election(s);
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 7.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.8.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 8.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.8.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 76.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 71.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 81.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 8.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.3.
Response: 9e. Number of voters expected to vote or who actually voted
outside of Election Day (e.g., early, absentee, or mail-in voting);
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 40.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 34.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 45.9.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 25.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 20.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 31.1.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 27.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 22.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 33.0.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 6.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.0.
9f. Average time needed to check in voters;
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 9.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.0.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 20.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 16.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 25.4.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 61.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 55.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 67.0.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 8.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.2.
9g. Average time needed to complete ballots;
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 11.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.0.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 23.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 28.6.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 56.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 50.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 62.1.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 8.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.6.
9h. Demographics (including presence of non-English-speaking voters,
elderly population, etc.);
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 7.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.6.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 14.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.5.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 66.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 61.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 72.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.7.
9i. Other (please specify below);
Response: Specific data for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 2.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.3.
Response: Estimate for each polling place;
Estimated percentage: 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.0.
Response: None used;
Estimated percentage: 52.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 45.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 60.0.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 42.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 35.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 50.0.
[End of table]
What other polling place level data did your jurisdiction use? [open
ended]
Part II: Voter Wait Time on General Election Day November 2012:
10. On average for all of the polling places in your jurisdiction for
the November 2012 General Election Day, how long did it typically take
for a voter to wait to begin filling out a ballot during the following
times of day? Please consider the time from when a voter entered the
first line to when they began filling out a ballot. (Please check one
response on each column):
Response: 5 minutes or less;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 32.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 26.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 37.6.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 26.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 21.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 32.0.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 24.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 19.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.8.
Response: 6 to 10 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 18.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.9.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 22.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 17.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 27.3.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 20.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 15.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 25.3.
Response: 11 to 20 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 8.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.3.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 12.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.5.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 13.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 18.3.
Response: 21 to 30 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.5.
Response: Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.7.
Response: Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 4.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 7.6.
Response: 31 to 60 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.2.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.0.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.2.
Response: 61 to 120 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.0.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.7.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.2.
Response: More than 120 minutes;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.7.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.7.
Response: Don't know;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 30.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.7.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 31.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.7.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 30.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 24.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.5.
Response: No response;
First hour after polls opened;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.2.
Around lunchtime;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.2.
Last hour before polls closed;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.2.
[End of table]
11. Would you say that the voter wait times you described in the
previous question were greater than, about the same as, or less than
the typical voter wait times for the November 2008 General Election
Day? (Please check one response):
Response: Greater than the typical November 2008 General Election Day
voter wait times;
Estimated percentage: 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.9.
Response: Less than the typical November 2008 General Election Day
voter wait times;
Estimated percentage: 19.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.6.
Response: About the same as the typical November 2008 General Election
Day voter wait times;
Estimated percentage: 44.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 38.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 50.1.
Response: Don't know/unsure;
Estimated percentage: 31.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.6.
[End of table]
12. In your opinion, what would you consider to be a voter wait time
on Election Day that is too long? (Please check one response):
Response: 10 minutes or less;
Estimated: percentage: 7.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.9.
Response: More than 10 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 23.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 28.9.
Response: More than 20 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 29.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 24.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.1.
Response: More than 30 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 21.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 16.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.2.
Response: More than 60 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 10.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.9.
Response: More than 120 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 0.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.4.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated: percentage: 6.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.9.
[End of table]
13. How many polling places in your jurisdiction had voter wait times
that were too long on the November 2012 General Election Day? (Please
check one response):
Response: No polling places (Skip to question 15);
Estimated: percentage: 78.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 82.6.
Response: Only a few polling places (Go to question 14);
Estimated: percentage: 19.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.5.
Response: Less than half, but more than a few polling places (Go to
question 14);
Estimated: percentage: 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.5.
Response: About half of all polling places (Go to question 14);
Estimated: percentage: 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.7.
Response: More than half of all polling places (Go to question 14);
Estimated: percentage: 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.1.
[End of table]
14. In thinking about the November 2012 General Election Day, how much
of a factor, if any, do you believe each of the following was to long
voter wait times at polling places in your jurisdiction?
Response: 14a. No or limited opportunities for voting outside of
Election Day (e.g., early or mail-in voting);
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 3.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.8.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 21.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 33.2.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 65.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 54.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 76.9.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 8.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.6.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14b. Not enough locations for in-person voting prior to
Election Day;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 19.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 31.3.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 62.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 50.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 73.9.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 16.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 27.5.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14c. Not enough days or hours for in-person voting prior to
Election Day;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.2.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 11.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.4.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 73.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 60.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.5.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 12.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.5.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14d. Not enough Election Day polling places;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
Response: Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 13.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.7.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 82.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 70.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 90.7.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.0.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14e. Design/layout of polling places;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 4.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 13.1.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 28.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 40.1.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 65.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 54.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 76.5.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.9.
Response: 14f. Not enough voting machines;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 8.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.6.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 18.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.0.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 72.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 60.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.0.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14g. Voting machine failures;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 15.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.8.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 82.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 70.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 90.3.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14h. Type of voting method or machine;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 13.4.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.6.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 89.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 80.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 95.2.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14i. Not enough poll workers at polling places;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 2.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.5.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 22.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 34.7.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 74.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 62.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.0.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14j. Training of poll workers;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 2.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.6.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 33.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 22.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 46.2.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 63.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 52.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 75.4.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14k. Higher than expected voter turnout;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 23.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.7.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 21.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 32.7.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 55.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 42.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 67.0.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14l. Redistricting;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 13.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.7.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 21.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 33.4.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 62.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 51.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 74.2.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 2.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): Response: 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): Response:
10.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14m. Consolidation/changes in polling places;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 7.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.9.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 20.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 11.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 32.0.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 68.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 55.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 79.0.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 3.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.9.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14n. Use of paper poll books;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.9.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 24.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.6.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 47.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 35.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 59.6.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 17.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.2.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14o. Use of electronic poll books;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 14.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 25.8.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 43.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 31.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 55.9.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 41.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 29.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 52.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
Response: 14p. Incorrect/inaccurate information on voter registration
rolls;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 2.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.7.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 21.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 11.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 33.0.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 70.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 80.8.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 6.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.1.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14q. Inadequate number of personnel to handle calls from
poll workers when problems come up at polling places;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 7.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.5.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 30.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 19.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 43.2.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 61.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 50.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 73.4.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14r. Election Day voter registration;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 3.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.8.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 10.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.3.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 37.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 48.5.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 49.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 37.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 61.0.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14s. Large number of first-time voters;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 6.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.9.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 43.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 31.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 55.1.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 49.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 37.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 61.1.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: Response: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14t. Large number of inactive voters;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 12.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.8.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 23.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.2.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 63.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 51.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 74.8.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.1.
Response: 14u. Long ballot;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 31.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 20.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 44.0.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 39.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 27.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 51.9.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 26.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 16.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 38.7.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.4.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14v. Complex or unclear ballot;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 7.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.6.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 17.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 28.8.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 72.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 60.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.0.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 2.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.7.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14w. Large number of non-English speaking voters;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 14.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 25.3.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 83.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 72.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 91.5.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.5.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14x. Voter identification requirements;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 7.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.3.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 17.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.2.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 69.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 56.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 80.2.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.1.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14y. Processing provisional voters;
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: 12.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.9.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 31.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 20.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 44.1.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: 53.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 40.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 65.1.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.0.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
Response: 14z. Other (please specify below);
Major factor;
Estimated percentage: ;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 31.4.
Minor factor;
Estimated percentage: 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.6.
Not a factor;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Not applicable;
Estimated percentage: 21.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.9.
No response;
Estimated percentage: 22.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.9.
Note: N/R indicates that we are not reporting results because the
width of the confidence interval is greater than plus or minus 15
percentage points and the results are considered not reliable.
[End of table]
What other aspect was a factor? [open ended]
15. Does your jurisdiction have a formal goal for the maximum time
that a voter should wait to begin to fill out a ballot? (Please check
one response):
Response: Yes (Go to question 16);
Estimated percentage: 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.9.
Response: No (Skip to question 17);
Estimated percentage: 80.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 75.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.9.
Response: Don't know (Skip to question 17);
Estimated percentage: 6.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.8.
[End of table]
16. If Yes: What is the maximum wait time goal? (Please check one
response):
Response: 10 minutes or less;
Estimated: percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: 11 to 20 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 8.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.8.
Response: 21 to 30 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: 31 to 60 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 3.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 13.3.
Response: More than 60 minutes;
Estimated: percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.0.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated: percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.0.
Note: N/R indicates that we are not reporting results because the
width of the confidence interval is greater than plus or minus 15
percentage points and the results are considered not reliable.
[End of table]
17. At about how many polling places did wait times of greater than 60
minutes occur at any time on either the November 2012 or November 2008
General Election Day? (Please check one response):
2012:
Response: No polling places;
Estimated percentage: 79.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 74.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.1.
Response: Only a few polling places;
Estimated percentage: 8.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 12.9.
Response: Less than half, but more than a few polling places;
Estimated percentage: 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.6.
Response: About half of all polling places;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.0.
Response: More than half of all polling places;
Estimated percentage: 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.4.
Response: Don't know or don't remember;
Estimated percentage: 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.8.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.8.
[End of table]
2008:
Response: No polling places;
Estimated percentage: 68.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 62.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 73.5.
Response: Only a few polling places;
Estimated percentage: 8.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.9.
Response: Less than half, but more than a few polling places;
Estimated percentage: 1.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.3.
Response: About half of all polling places;
Estimated percentage: 1.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.8.
Response: More than half of all polling places;
Estimated percentage: 0.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.4.
Response: Don't know or don't remember;
Estimated percentage: 18.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.3.
[End of table]
18. On the November 2012 General Election Day, did any voters have to
wait in line to turn in their ballot to a machine, poll worker, or
ballot box after completing their ballot? We understand that for DRE
machines, voters submit their ballots immediately after completing
them, but for other methods, such as optical/digital scan or paper
ballots, voters may have to wait in line to turn in their ballot to
feed through a machine or submit their ballot to a poll worker or
ballot box. (Please check one response):
Response: Yes (Go to question 19);
Estimated percentage: 15.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 11.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.0.
Response: No (Skip to question 21);
Estimated percentage: 71.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 66.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 76.7.
Response: Don't know (Skip to question 21);
Estimated percentage: 13.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.6.
[End of table]
19. If yes: On average, for all of the polling places in your
jurisdiction for the November 2012 General Election Day, how long did
voters typically have to wait in line to turn in their ballots for
counting after completing them? (Please check one response):
Response: 5 minutes or less;
Estimated percentage: 89.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 77.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 96.9.
Response: 6 to 15 minutes;
Estimated percentage: 6.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.3.
Response: 16 to 30 minutes;
Estimated percentage: 3.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.3.
Response: More than 30 minutes;
Estimated percentage: 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.4.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.1.
[End of table]
20. Which of the following, if any, were reasons voters had to wait to
turn in ballots for counting after voters completed their ballots?
(Please check one response for each row):
20a.Voters periodically had to wait in short lines to turn in ballots,
but lines were minimal and not due to a specific reason;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 12.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.1.
20b. Not enough counting machines (e.g., optical/digital scan);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 9.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.9.
20c. Counting machine failure (e.g., optical/digital scan);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
20d. Long ballot to feed through machine;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.8.
20e. Design/layout of polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 6.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 90.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 76.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 97.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 3.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.1.
20f. Other (Please specify below);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Note: N/R indicates that we are not reporting results because the
width of the confidence interval is greater than plus or minus 15
percentage points and the results are considered not reliable.
[End of table]
What was the other reason that voters had to wait to turn in ballots
for counting? [open ended]
Part III: Policies and Practices in Your Jurisdiction:
21. Did your jurisdiction use any of the following policies or
practices for the November 2012 general election? (Please check one
response for each row):
21a. Mail-in voting (e.g., absentee);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 98.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 96.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 99.5.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 1.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.7.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.7.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
21b. In-person voting prior to Election Day (e.g., early or in-person
absentee voting);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 88.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 84.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 92.0.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 11.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.5.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
21c. Vote centers on Election Day (polling places where any voter in
the jurisdiction can vote regardless of precinct);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 5.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 8.4.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 92.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 89.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 95.6.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.4.
21d. Election Day registration;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 19.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 24.1.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 76.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 72.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 81.9.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.7.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.7.
21e. Electronic poll books at polling places on Election Day;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 29.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 23.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 34.5.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 70.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 65.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 75.8.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.4.
21f. Paper poll books at polling places on Election Day;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 77.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 72.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 82.1.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 21.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 17.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.8.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.2.
21g. Ballots available in different languages;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 16.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.2.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 80.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 75.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 84.9.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.3.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.5.
21h. Standardized training for poll workers;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 97.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 95.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 99.1.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 1.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.8.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 0.9.
21i. Other (please specify below);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 13.7.
Response: Didn't use;
Estimated percentage: 27.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 20.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.4.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 5.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.1.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 58.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 50.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 67.1.
[End of table]
What other policies or practices did your jurisdiction use? [open
ended]
22. Did your jurisdiction conduct a formal audit or investigation of
the possible causes of long voter wait times on the November 2012
General Election Day? (Please check one response):
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 4.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 7.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 94.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 91.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 96.7.
Response: Don't know;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.1.
[End of table]
23. Has your jurisdiction revised or is it in the process of revising
any of its Election Day policies or procedures since the November 2012
general election specifically to address any of the possible causes of
long voter wait times? (Please check one response):
Response: Yes (Go to question 24);
Estimated percentage: 18.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.4.
Response: No (Skip to question 25);
Estimated percentage: 78.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 82.9.
Response: Don't know (Skip to question 25);
Estimated percentage: 3.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 6.7.
[End of table]
24. If yes: which policies or procedures were revised or are in the
process of being revised specifically to address any of the possible
causes of long voter wait times on the November 2012 General Election
Day? (Please check one response on each row):
24a. Options for voting outside of Election Day (e.g., early or mail-
in voting);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 30.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 45.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 59.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 46.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 73.2.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 10.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.0.
24b. Number of locations for in-person voting prior to Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 23.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 38.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 68.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 53.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 80.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 7.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.6.
24c. Number of days or hours for in-person voting prior to Election
Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 23.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 37.3.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 70.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 56.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 82.6.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 5.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.7.
24d. Number of Election Day polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 4.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.8.
24e. Creation of vote centers (polling places where any voter in the
jurisdiction can vote regardless of precinct);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 12.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.8.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 79.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 66.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 89.8.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 19.7.
24f. Design/layout of polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 64.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 49.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 77.6.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 31.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 45.7.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 4.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.1.
24g. Number of voting machines;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 29.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 17.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 43.9.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 63.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 48.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 76.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 6.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.9.
24h. Voting machine testing;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 26.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 40.5.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 10.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.1.
24i. Type of voting method or machine;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 18.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 31.4.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 75.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 61.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 86.3.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 6.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.9.
24j. Number of poll workers at polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 67.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 52.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 79.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 30.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 18.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 45.3.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.9.
24k. Training of poll workers;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 74.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 59.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 85.7.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 23.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 37.6.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 10.9.
24l. Revised voter turnout estimation procedures/methods;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 33.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 20.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 47.6.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 57.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 44.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 71.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 9.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.4.
24m. Redraw precinct boundaries;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 19.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 33.2.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 10.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.5.
24n. Consolidation/changes in polling places;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 41.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 27.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 55.5.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 48.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 34.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 62.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 9.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.6.
24o. Use of paper poll books;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 23.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 37.4.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 71.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 83.2.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 4.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 14.5.
24p. Use of electronic poll books;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 41.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 27.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 55.0.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 50.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 37.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 64.7.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 7.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 18.7.
24q. Improving accuracy of voter registration rolls;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 39.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 54.0.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 50.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 37.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 64.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 9.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.1.
24r. Election Day voter registration;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 7.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 2.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 18.4.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 82.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 69.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 91.9.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 9.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.6.
24s. Ballot simplification;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 10.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.9.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 74.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 59.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 85.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 15.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 28.8.
24t. Accommodation of non-English speaking voters;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 14.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 26.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: 64.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 49.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 77.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 20.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 35.4.
24u. Voter identification requirements;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 21.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 10.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 36.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 15.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.0.
24v. Revised provisional vote procedures;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: 22.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 37.1.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 10.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.2.
24w. Others (please specify below);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Note: N/R indicates that we are not reporting results because the
width of the confidence interval is greater than plus or minus 15
percentage points and the results are considered not reliable.
[End of table]
What other policies or procedures were revised or are in the process
of being revised? [open ended]
25. What policies and procedures are most important to minimize or
reduce voter wait time in your jurisdiction? Please answer this
question whether or not your jurisdiction has experienced long voter
wait times. [open ended]
26. Which of the following best describes the resources that were
available to your jurisdiction for the November 2012 General Election
Day? (Please check one response):
Response: There were enough resources to comfortably conduct Election
Day operations (Skip to question 28);
Estimated: percentage: 80.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 76.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 85.3.
Response: Resources were tight, but Election Day operations were
conducted as planned (Skip to question 28);
Estimated: percentage: 17.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.0.
Response: There were resource shortages and some Election Day
operations were impacted by these shortages (Go to question 27);
Estimated: percentage: 1.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.0.
[End of table]
27. Which of the following activities, if any, were impacted by the
availability of resources? (Check all that apply):
27a. The number of polling locations used on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27b. The type (optimal size and configuration) of polling locations
used on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27c. The number of poll workers used on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27d. The training of poll workers;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27e. The number of voting machines used on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27f. The type of voting machine/technology used on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27g. The availability of other technology, for instance electronic
poll books;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27h. Voter education efforts before Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27i. Voter education efforts on Election Day;
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
27j. Other (please specify below);
Response: Yes;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-lower bound (percentage): N/R;
95 percent confidence Interval-upper bound (percentage): N/R.
Note: N/R indicates that we are not reporting results because the
width of the confidence interval is greater than plus or minus 15
percentage points and the results are considered not reliable.
[End of table]
What other activities were impacted? [open ended]
Part IV: 2012 General Election Characteristics:
For the November 2012 General Election Day, which types of voting
methods were used? For those that were used, please provide the
numbers of machines and/or ballots cast. (Please check at least one
response on each row):
Number of machines:
Number of ballots cast:
28a. Electronic (direct recording electronic-DRE);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 51.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 45.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 57.1.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 46.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 41.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 52.8.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.4.
28b. Optical/digital scan;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 72.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 67.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 78.1.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 24.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 19.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 29.6.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.3.
28c. Lever machine;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 1.0.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 98.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 95.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 99.4.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 2.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 4.7.
28d. Punch card ballot;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 0.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 2.7.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 98.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 96.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 99.6.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 1.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.0.
28e. Paper (hand-counted) ballot;
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 18.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 23.5.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 76.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 70.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 81.7.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 5.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 3.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.5.
28f. Other (please specify below);
Response: Used;
Estimated percentage: 11.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 6.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 16.6.
Response: Not used;
Estimated percentage: 56.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 49.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 63.5.
Response: No response;
Estimated percentage: 32.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 25.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 39.3.
[End of table]
What other type of voting method was used? [open ended]
Number of ballots cast:
29. For the November 2012 general election, how many votes were cast
through the following methods? [open ended]
In-person voting on Election Day at a polling place (excluding
provisional voting):
Provisional voting on Election Day at a polling place (both accepted
and rejected ballots):
All voting that occurred outside of Election Day (e.g., any type of
early, absentee, and mail-in ballots, including mail-in ballots that
were submitted in person on Election Day):
30. On the November 2012 General Election Day, how many poll workers
were used in your jurisdiction? By poll workers, we mean those
individuals recruited specifically for the purpose of working at
polling places on Election Day. [open ended]
Number of poll workers:
31. How many hours of election administration training did poll
workers in your jurisdiction receive in preparation for the November
2012 general election? Providing an estimate is fine. [open ended]
Hours of election administration training for typical first-time poll
worker:
Hours of election administration training for typical returning poll
worker:
Hours of election administration training for typical polling place
supervisor or presiding judge:
32. What was the total number of ballot questions (propositions) and
elected offices (races) that your jurisdiction was asked to put on
applicable ballots in the November 2012 general election? [open ended]
Ballot questions (propositions):
Elected offices (races):
33. How many pages or screens was an average ballot in your
jurisdiction? [open ended]
pages:
screens:
34. Which of the following information, if any, did your jurisdiction
provide to educate the public prior to the November 2012 general
election? (Please check at least one response in each row):
34a. Specific polling place location information;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 78.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 73.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 82.9.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 22.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 17.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 27.0.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 60.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 54.7;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 65.9.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 1.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 3.6.
34b. Sample ballots;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 63.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 68.5.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 16.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 12.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 21.3.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 67.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 61.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 72.5.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 2.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 0.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 5.0.
34c. Information about their registration status;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 48.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 42.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 53.9.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 20.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 16.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 25.5.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 41.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 35.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 46.7.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 15.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 11.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 20.3.
34d. Instructions about how to cast a vote using the jurisdiction's
voting method;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 34.5;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 29.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 39.8.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 11.8;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.9.
Other method(s);
Response: Estimated percentage: 65.2;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 59.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 70.5.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 11.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.7.
34e. Information about options to vote outside of Election Day (e.g.,
early or mail-in voting);
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 62.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 57.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 68.3.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 18.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 14.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.7.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 65.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 60.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 70.9.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 7.9;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 5.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 11.6.
34f. Full text statements by candidates or information about ballot
questions;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 19.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 15.1;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 24.2.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 11.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 7.8;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.2.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 29.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 24.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 34.6.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 49.1;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 43.2;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 55.0.
34g. Information for voters in a language other than English;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 13.4;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 9.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 17.6.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 6.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 4.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 9.5.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 20.0;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 15.4;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 24.6.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 61.6;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 55.9;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 67.2.
34h. Information specific to voters with disabilities;
Response: On website;
Estimated percentage: 32.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 27.3;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 38.1.
Response: By mail;
Estimated percentage: 11.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 8.0;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 15.4.
Response: Other method(s);
Estimated percentage: 57.3;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 51.6;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 62.9.
Response: Did not provide;
Estimated percentage: 17.7;
95 percent confidence interval-lower bound (percentage): 13.5;
95 percent confidence interval-upper bound (percentage): 22.6.
[End of table]
35. What, if anything, could the federal government do to help address
long voter wait times? [open ended]
Part V: Other Comments:
36. Do you have any other comments you feel are important about
Election Day 2012 processes that were not included above that may be
related to voter wait times? [open ended]
[End of section]
Appendix III: Estimates of Average Wait Times by State on Election Day
2012 Based on Nationwide Public Opinion Survey:
The Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) has been conducted
since 2006 to study congressional elections and representation using
large-scale national surveys. The 2012 CCES surveyed 54,535 U.S.
citizens aged 18 and over by Internet about their views and
experiences before and after Election Day 2012.[Footnote 99]
Respondents who reported voting in person (either prior to Election
Day or on Election Day) were asked about the length of time they
recalled waiting in line to vote. Figure 7 shows estimated average
wait times by state on Election Day 2012 based on the data collected
through the 2012 CCES survey.[Footnote 100]
Figure 7: Estimates of Average Wait Times by State on Election Day
2012 Based on Nationwide Public Opinion Survey:
[Refer to PDF for image: vertical bar graph]
Average wait time (in minutes) by state:
Alaska: 1.4;
Vermont: 1.4;
South Dakota: 2.1;
Wyoming: 2.7;
Nebraska: 3.7;
Delaware: 4.1;
Maine: 4.2;
Iowa: 4.5;
New Jersey: 5.4;
Minnesota: 6.3;
Connecticut: 6.4;
Illinois: 6.5;
California: 6.5;
Massachusetts: 6.9;
Kentucky: 7.9;
Arizona: 8.3;
Pennsylvania: 8.3;
Wisconsin: 8.5;
Idaho: 8.7;
Ohio: 9.0;
North Carolina: 9.1;
Alabama: 9.2;
Missouri: 10.2;
Kansas: 11.3;
Texas: 11.6;
New York: 12.1;
Indiana: 12.2;
Georgia: 13.7;
Louisiana: 13.9;
Tennessee: 14.6;
Oklahoma: 16.8;
Michigan: 18.8;
South Carolina: 26.3;
Virginia: 27.0;
Maryland: 28.9;
Florida: 34.1.
Two states were excluded from the figure because they were vote-by-
mail states, and 12 states and the District of Columbia were excluded
because of the relative imprecision of their estimates.[A]
Source: GAO analysis of data from the 2012 Cooperative Congressional
Election Study. GAO-14-850.
Notes: We replicated a method used by Charles Stewart III when
analyzing CCES data in "Waiting to Vote in 2012," Journal of Law and
Politics. Specifically, we calculated average wait times by recoding
response categories to the midpoint of the category. For example, the
"none at all" response category was recoded as 0 minutes, and the "1-
10 minutes" response category was recoded as 5 minutes. (Respondents
who waited more than an hour provided wait times in minutes).
[A] Oregon and Washington were excluded because, as of the November
2012 election, they were vote-by-mail states. In addition to the
District of Columbia, the 12 states with relatively imprecise
estimates were Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Montana,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah,
and West Virginia. The estimated proportion of voters in these states
who waited 10 minutes or less had a margin of error greater than plus
or minus 10 percentage points. We excluded these states and the
District of Columbia from the figure because of the relative
imprecision of their estimates.
[End of figure]
[End of section]
Appendix IV: Comments from the Supervisor of Elections for Lee County,
Florida:
Sharon L. Harrington:
Supervisor of Elections:
Lee County:
Constitutional Complex:
P.O, Box 2545:
Fort Myers, Florida 33902:
(239) Lee-Vote:
(239) 533-8683:
Fax (239) 533·6310:
[hyperlink, http://www.leeelections.com]
To: Johanna Wong:
From: Sharon l. Harrington - Lee County Supervisor of Elections:
Date: September 15, 2014:
Subject: GAO Voter Wait Times Report:
Dear Johanna,
I sincerely believe that the information reported here reflects a true
and accurate accounting of what transpired during the 2012 general
election, As this report clearly shows, it wasn't just one issue that
contributed to the long wait lines Lee County experienced, but a
series of issues culminating in what we now refer to as "the perfect
storm", I have been with our office for 25 years and have served as the
elected Supervisor of Elections since 2004. During those 25 years, I
have been involved in many situations that drastically changed the way
we administer elections today. The passage of the National Voter
Registration Act (NVRA) in the early 90's completely changed the way
in which election administrators provided access to the voter
registration process. Then we had the infamous 2000 election that
resulted in the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002 that
drastically change the methods of voting provided by each
jurisdiction, In 2004 shortly after I was sworn in as Supervisor, we
were hit by Hurricane Charley just a few weeks before the August
primary. We lost a large number of our polling locations on the
barrier islands and along the gulf shore and had to scramble to
provide a place for voters to go on Election Day. This brought about
the emergence of "early voting". In Charlotte County just north of us,
they sustained more of a direct hit from Charley. They not only lost
almost all of their polling locations, but their residents/voters were
scattered everywhere across the county, It was during this time that a
program was developed that would allow a voter to cast a ballot in a
temporary "polling place" (most of them tents) regardless of where
their original residence had been by printing the ballot style that
they would have voted on initially.
In 2006 we were mandated by new legislation to change our method of
voting from DRE's, electronic touch screens to an optical scan system.
This was the second major switch in voting equipment since the 2000
election. The volume of peripheral changes that have to be made to get
staff up to speed on the new machines, get poll workers trained in
using the equipment, providing materials to the voters to train them
as well and then re-write all of your training manuals and procedures is
massive. And, then we have the 2012 election with all of its issues. I
mention all of this because out of everyone of these events, we
accepted what was to be, learned from the changes and mistakes and
were better for it.
The report mentions several of the items already put into practice
that we feel will alleviate any repeat of the problems we encountered
in 2012. Changes in the election laws in 2013 that reversed what was
previously enacted was a huge step forward. Our Board of County
Commissioners worked very closely with us to fund the purchase of
additional scanning equipment for future elections, purchasing
electronic poll books to expedite the check-in process and finding a
larger space for one of our branch offices used as an early voting
site to accommodate the large number of voters in that area more
efficiently. We have increased the number of voters using mail ballots
through a strong campaign prior to our recent primary election which
decreased the number of voters going to the polls on Election Day.
Even though we do not think we will ever run into the same set of
circumstances as we did in 2012, in the elections world we have
learned to never say never. But, I sincerely believe that should
similar instances repeat themselves, we will be more prepared and
better able to handle the situation. If I can be of any additional
assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
Signed by:
Sharon L. Harrington, CERA, MFCEP:
Lee County Supervisor of Elections:
PO Box 2545 (33902):
2480 Thompson Street (33901):
Fort Myers, FL:
239-533-6301 (Phone):
239-533-6310 (Fax):
Email: sharrington@leeelections.com:
[End of section]
Appendix V: GAO Contact and Acknowledgments:
GAO Contact:
Rebecca Gambler, (202) 512-8777 or gamblerr@gao.gov:
Acknowledgments:
In addition to the contact named above, Tom Jessor (Assistant
Director), David Alexander (Assistant Director), Carl Barden
(Assistant Director), Susan Czachor, Tony DeFrank, William Egar, Eric
Hauswirth, Susan Hsu, Jeff Jensen, Elizabeth Kowalewski, Amanda
Miller, Jan Montgomery, Rebecca Kuhlmann Taylor, Janet Temko-Blinder,
Jeff Tessin, and Johanna Wong made significant contributions to this
report.
We gratefully acknowledge the substantial time and cooperation of the
state and local election officials and researchers whom we interviewed.
[End of section]
Footnotes:
[1] GAO analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Voting and
Registration in the Election of November 2012--Detailed Tables,
accessed July 1, 2013, [hyperlink,
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2012/tabl
es.html].
[2] See, for example, Charles Stewart III and Stephen Ansolabehere,
"Executive Summary: Waiting in Line to Vote" (June 28, 2013), accessed
July 9, 2013, [hyperlink,
https://www.supportthevoter.gov/files/2013/08/Waiting-in-Line-to-Vote-
White-Paper-Stewart-Ansolabehere.pdf]; and Douglas M. Spencer and
Zachary S. Markovits, "Long Lines at Polling Stations? Observations
from an Election Day Field Study," Election Law Journal, vol. 9, no. 1
(2010).
[3] These include the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, the
Help America Vote Act of 2002, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
among others.
[4] GAO, Elections: The Nation's Evolving Election System as Reflected
in the November 2004 General Election, [hyperlink,
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-450] (Washington, D.C.: June 6,
2006), and Elections: Perspectives on Activities and Challenges Across
the Nation, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-02-3]
(Washington, D.C.: Oct.15, 2001). For our review of the 2004 general
election, we surveyed a nationally representative random sample of 788
local election jurisdictions nationwide, stratified by population. For
our review of the 2000 general election, we surveyed a random sample--
stratified by type of voting method--of (1) all county election
jurisdictions, or their equivalents, in 39 states that delegate
election responsibilities primarily to counties; (2) the largest minor
civil divisions, such as towns and townships, in each county in the 9
states that delegate election responsibilities to these divisions; (3)
the District of Columbia; and (4) Alaska. We excluded the state of
Oregon from both surveys because it was a vote-by-mail state for these
general elections. The survey for the 2000 general election was
generalizable to this sample frame, which included 90 percent of the
U.S. population.
[5] While the presidential election process includes activities prior
to Election Day--such as early voting--for the purposes of this
review, we focus on voter wait times during in-person voting on
Election Day. The results from our survey are generalizable to this
population of jurisdictions nationwide, but our survey was not
designed to have a sufficient sample to produce reliable estimates at
the state level. We excluded jurisdictions with populations of 10,000
or fewer because, on the basis of our review of wait time research,
jurisdictions of this size were unlikely to have experienced long
voter wait times. We excluded the states of Oregon and Washington from
our survey because, as of the November 2012 election, they were both
vote-by-mail states. Because we followed a probability procedure based
on random selections, our sample is only one of a large number of
samples that we might have drawn. Since each sample could have
provided different estimates, we express our confidence in the
precision of our particular sample's results as a 95 percent
confidence interval (e.g., from 5 to 15 percent). This is the interval
that would contain the actual population value for 95 percent of the
samples we could have drawn.
[6] We conducted our survey from March 20, 2014, through June 15,
2014. To calculate our response rate, we used a standard definition,
known as RR2, from the American Association for Public Opinion
Research. See American Association for Public Opinion Research, 2011
Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome
Rates for Surveys, 7th edition (2011).
[7] We defined wait time as the time from when a voter entered the
first line to when he or she began filling out a ballot.
[8] The CCES is a survey of a nationally representative stratified
sample of U.S. citizens aged 18 and over. The CCES has been conducted
since 2006 to better understand congressional elections and
representation using large-scale national surveys. The 2012 CCES
surveyed 54,535 U.S. citizens aged 18 and over by Internet about their
views and experiences before and after Election Day 2012. The project
was the result of a collaborative effort of a consortium of research
teams and organizations, and Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard
University was the principal investigator.
[9] We also contacted election officials from the 3 remaining states,
but they declined to be interviewed.
[10] We interviewed officials from these jurisdictions between May and
July 2014.
[11] The Election Assistance Commission is an independent federal
agency that was established in 2002 to help improve state and local
administration of federal elections.
[12] We identified relevant literature by searching social science,
academic, and other databases for terms such as "voter wait times" and
"election long lines," among others.
[13] States primarily delegate election responsibilities to counties,
but some delegate responsibilities to subcounty governmental units,
such as townships or municipalities.
[14] Pub. L. No. 107-252, 116 Stat. 1666 (2002) (codified as amended
at 42 U.S.C. §§ 15301-545).
[15] HAVA specifies that the EAC's four commissioners are to be
nominated by the President on recommendations from Congress and
confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
[16] Pub. L. No. 103-31, 107 Stat. 77 (1993) (codified as amended at
42 U.S.C. §§ 1973gg-1973gg-10).
[17] Pub. L. No. 89-110, 79 Stat. 437 (codified as amended at 42
U.S.C. §§ 1973 to 1973bb-1).
[18] Collectively known as the language minority provisions of the
Voting Rights Act, sections 203 and 4(f)(4) are to enable members of
applicable language minority groups to participate effectively in the
electoral process. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973aa-1a, 1973b(f)(4). On the basis
of 2010 Census results, 248 jurisdictions are covered under section
203 of the Voting Rights Act. The status of section 4(f)(4) is unclear
as it relies on a coverage formula struck down by the Supreme Court in
2013. Shelby Co. v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2013).
[19] States are required to perform regular maintenance of the voter
list by comparing it against state records on felons and deaths and by
matching voter registration application information on the voter list
with information in the state motor vehicle agency's records and
Social Security Administration records, as appropriate.
[20] States can be divided into two groups according to how election
responsibilities are delegated. The first group contains 41 states
that delegate election responsibilities primarily to the county level,
with a few of these states delegating election responsibilities to
some cities, and 1 state that delegates these responsibilities to
election regions. The District of Columbia is included in this group
of states. The second group contains 9 states that delegate election
responsibilities principally to subcounty governmental units. These
local election jurisdictions vary widely in size and complexity,
ranging from small New England townships to Los Angeles County, whose
number of registered voters exceeds that of many states.
[21] As of the 2012 general election, 35 states and the District of
Columbia provided an opportunity for voters to cast a ballot prior to
Election Day without providing an excuse, either by no-excuse absentee
voting or by early voting, or both.
[22] As of the 2012 general election, 27 states and the District of
Columbia allowed for no-excuse absentee voting by mail, and 7 of these
states and the District of Columbia allowed voters to apply for an
absentee ballot on a permanent basis.
[23] In some cases, multiple precincts may be combined in a single
polling place.In addition, some states allow voters to cast their
ballots at "vote centers," which are polling places at which any
registered voter in the local election jurisdiction may vote on
Election Day, regardless of the precinct in which the voter resides.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of
August 2014, 11 states have passed legislation that, for certain kinds
of elections, has allowed jurisdictions to establish vote centers or
has allowed vote center pilot projects in selected jurisdictions.
[24] Jurisdictions call their poll workers by different titles,
including clerks, wardens, election judges, inspectors, captains, and
precinct officers and often have a chief poll worker for each polling
place. On Election Day, poll workers set up and open polling places,
which can include setting up the voting machines or voting booths,
testing equipment, and posting required signs and voter education
information.
[25] Provisional ballots are those cast by voters at the polls whose
eligibility to vote is unclear and to be determined later. HAVA
requires states to provide a provisional ballot process for voters in
certain circumstances. One such circumstance is when an individual
asserts to be (1) registered in the jurisdiction for which he or she
desires to vote and (2) eligible to vote in a federal election but (3)
whose name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for
the polling place. Another is for first-time voters who register by
mail but do not have required identification.
[26] Some jurisdictions used hybrid systems that combine a DRE machine
with an optical scanner; other jurisdictions used punch card systems,
lever machines, or paper ballots that are manually cast and counted.
[27] Some jurisdictions used DRE machines with a voter-verified paper
audit trail, which prints out a paper record of the voters' ballot
selections that is submitted for counting.
[28] Exec. Order No. 13639, Establishment of the Presidential
Commission on Election Administration, 78 Fed. Reg. 19979 (Mar. 28,
2013). See Presidential Commission on Election Administration, The
American Voting Experience: Report and Recommendations of the
Presidential Commission on Election Administration (January 2014).
[29] According to the Presidential Commission report, the commission
surveyed 7,779 local election officials from all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Guam. The response rate for
the survey was 41 percent.
[30] The SPAE is conducted by Charles Stewart III, Professor of
Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The
total sample size for the 2012 SPAE survey was 10,200 people.
[31] The total sample size for the 2012 CCES survey was 54,535. The
survey consists of two phases in election years. In the preelection
phase, respondents answer two-thirds of the questionnaire about
general political attitudes, various demographic factors, assessment
of roll call voting choices, and political information. In the
postelection phase, respondents answer the other third of the
questionnaire, mostly consisting of items related to the election that
just occurred. In nonelection years, the survey consists of a single
phase conducted in the early fall.
[32] All estimates from the survey are subject to sampling error. The
numbers in parentheses indicate results at the 95 percent confidence
interval.
[33] In our survey, we defined wait time as the time from when a voter
entered the first line to when he or she began filling out a ballot.
[34] See, for example, Schaefer Center for Public Policy, Voting and
the Administration of Elections in Maryland (Baltimore, Maryland:
January 2014), a report for the Maryland State Board of Elections.
[35] See, for example, Charles Stewart III, "Waiting to Vote in 2012,"
Journal of Law and Politics, vol. 28, 439-463.
[36] See Michael Herron and Daniel Smith, The Advancement Project,
Congestion at the Polls: A Study of Florida Precincts in the 2012
General Election, (June 24, 2013), and Charles Stewart III, "Waiting
to Vote in 2012."
[37] See Schaefer Center for Public Policy, Voting and the
Administration of Elections in Maryland.
[38] Every jurisdiction in Maryland used electronic poll books and DRE
voting systems for the 2012 election, making check-in and voting data
available for each precinct in the state. According to researchers at
the Schaefer Center, the simulation results identified similar
counties where long wait times were more common on Election Day 2012
as those identified by the combined results of the CCES and SPAE
surveys for the state.
[39] See appendix II for wait time questions and response options. In
our instructions to respondents, we noted that the time spent filling
out or submitting a ballot may affect the wait time of later voters,
but for the purposes of our survey, we wanted respondents to consider
voter wait time to be only the time a voter waited prior to filling
out a ballot.
[40] As discussed earlier in this report, on the basis of our survey,
we estimate that 16 percent (from 12 to 21 percent) of jurisdictions
collected, received, or had available data that would allow them to
calculate voter wait times that occurred at individual polling places.
In addition, we estimate that some jurisdictions collected various
types of wait time information that election officials and researchers
have identified would be helpful in measuring wait times.
[41] State election agencies, academic researchers, and other election
experts have used different standards to define long voter wait times.
For example, in its survey of local election jurisdictions, the
Virginia State Board of Elections used a standard of 2 hours, or 120
minutes, or more to denote long wait times. The Presidential
Commission did not define what constituted a long wait, but set a
standard of 30 minutes as a target maximum wait time for voters.
[42] In the remaining jurisdictions, officials believe that wait times
of 10 minutes or less, more than 60 minutes, or more than 120 minutes
are too long, or did not know what they considered to be too long.
[43] For each response option that officials could select as a wait
time they considered to be too long--ranging from 10 minutes or less
to more than 120 minutes--the majority of jurisdictions said that no
polling places had voter wait times that were too long on Election Day
2012.
[44] Wait times may be based on officials' perspectives, data, or
other information on wait times.
[45] Because so few jurisdictions reported average voter wait times of
more than 30 minutes at any time of Election Day 2012, we collapsed
the response options of 21 to 30 minutes, 31 to 60 minutes, 61 to 120
minutes, and more than 120 minutes to create a single category of more
than 20 minutes. Of the 32 jurisdictions that reported average wait
times of more than 20 minutes during the hour before the polls closed,
15 of these reported average wait times of between 21 and 30 minutes
and only 3 jurisdictions reported average wait times of 61 minutes or
more. We reported the number of jurisdictions that reported these
average wait times, rather than generalizable estimated percentages,
because of the small number of jurisdictions involved.
[46] Charles Stewart III conducted a similar analysis of CCES data and
reported wait time estimates based on the combined responses of voters
who voted early and also on Election Day 2012. Our analysis separated
these combined responses to obtain estimates of voter wait times on
Election Day. See Charles Stewart III, "Waiting to Vote in 2012."
[47] Survey respondents were asked to estimate wait times within
specified response categories. We replicated Charles Stewart III's
approach in "Waiting to Vote in 2012" and estimated average wait times
by first recoding the response categories to the midpoint of the
category--for example, the "none at all" response was coded as 0
minutes, and the "1-10" response category was coded as 5 minutes.
Respondents who waited more than an hour were asked to provide wait
times in minutes. We excluded 12 states--Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii,
Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota,
Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia--and the District of Columbia
from our analysis because of the relative imprecision of their
estimates (the estimated proportion of voters in these states who
waited 10 minutes or less had a margin of error of greater than plus
or minus 10 percentage points).
[48] More specifically, we estimate that the percentage of voters who
waited 61 minutes or more to vote were as follows: Florida--16 percent
(from 12 to 21 percent), Maryland--12 percent (from 7 to 17 percent),
and Virginia--12 percent (from 9 to 15 percent).
[49] Charles Stewart III, "Waiting to Vote in 2012." Stewart analyzed
data from the CCES and the SPAE, a nationally representative survey of
200 registered voters in each of the 50 states and the District of
Columbia. The study reported wait time estimates based on the combined
responses of voters who voted early and also on Election Day, but did
not provide estimates broken out for each type of voting.
[50] Schaefer Center for Public Policy, Voting and the Administration
of Elections in Maryland.
[51] All estimates from the survey are subject to sampling error. The
numbers in parentheses indicate results at the 95 percent confidence
interval.
[52] See, for example, Stewart and Ansolabehere, "Executive Summary:
Waiting in Line to Vote." This study found that among nonvoting
respondents to the 2012 CCES, 0.8 percent stated that the main reason
they did not vote was that "lines at the polls were too long." In
addition, see Spencer and Markovits, "Long Lines at Polling Stations?
Observations from an Election Day Field Study," 3. For this study,
observers were assigned to monitor voter traffic at 30 polling places
in three neighboring San Francisco Bay Area counties on Election Day
for the 2008 California presidential primary election. The study found
that 1.9 percent of the 11,858 voters in its sample stood in line for
a period of time and then left without voting.
[53] See appendix II for aggregated survey results related to these
factors.
[54] Totals do not sum to 100 because some jurisdictions may use both
paper and electronic poll books.
[55] Under federal law, a voter's registration remains active as long
as the person resides at the address listed on his or her
registration. Election officials can change a voter's registration
status to inactive if the voter has moved and has not responded to an
address confirmation request, among other circumstances.
[56] Redistricting is the process of drawing new election district
boundaries, which can affect precinct boundaries and polling place
locations. Precinct consolidations generally involve combining two or
more precincts into a single precinct and can result in changes to the
locations of polling places.
[57] As required by HAVA, a provisional ballot allows an individual to
cast a ballot in an election with federal races despite questions
regarding the individual's eligibility to vote. The provisional
ballots are cast on ballots separate from the other ballots and
examined for eligibility after the polls close. While provisional
ballots are required by HAVA to be issued in certain circumstances,
the methods of implementation are left to the discretion of the states
and provisional ballots are counted in accordance with state law.
[58] Some jurisdictions are required under section 203 of the Voting
Rights Act to provide voting materials in specified minority languages
in addition to English. This is determined by a prescribed statutory
formula using the most recent Census data. 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a.
Certain jurisdictions are also required to provide bilingual voting
materials under section 4(f)(4) of the act; however, that section
relies on a coverage formula that was struck down by the Supreme Court
in 2013. 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(f)(4); Shelby Co. v. Holder, 133 S. Ct.
2612 (2013).
[59] Voting equipment refers to the voting systems employed by a
jurisdiction for casting and counting votes, including electronic
voting machines and paper balloting systems that use optical or
digital scanners.
[60] Federal laws that specifically address accessibility issues for
voters with disabilities include the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990 (Pub . L. No. 101-336, 104 Stat. 327, codified as amended at
42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.), HAVA, and the Voting Accessibility for
the Elderly and Handicapped Act (Pub. L. No. 98-435, 98 Stat. 1678
(1984), codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973ee to 1973ee-6), among others.
For example among other requirements, when parking is available for
voters, staff, and volunteers, accessible parking must be provided for
people with disabilities. In addition, each polling place must have an
accessible entrance connected to an accessible route.
[61] See the results to question 9 of our survey in appendix II for
more information on the types of data used by jurisdictions when
allocating resources for Election Day 2012.
[62] Jurisdiction officials said that state officials told them that
as long as there was one working DRE voting machine in use at a
precinct, that precinct could not utilize emergency paper ballots
already supplied to the precinct that would need to be hand-counted,
according to state law. Jurisdiction officials said that this law
allowed paper ballots to be used in addition to DRE machines if the
paper ballots would be counted by a machine, and not hand-counted.
[63] A voter's registration status was marked as being inactive if
prior to the election, the jurisdiction's voter registration office
was unable to confirm the address of the voter by mail. According to
the jurisdiction's postelection report, which was created by a
bipartisan Election Process Task Force, there were a substantial
number of inactive voters in 2012 because (1) the State Board of
Elections did not comprehensively purge from voter rolls inactive
voters who had become ineligible since the last presidential election,
and (2) many voters had their registration status changed to inactive
as a result of returned mailings from materials sent out as part of
the State Board of Election's voter education campaign to inform
voters of precinct changes associated with redistricting.
[64] There were 251 forms filled out in 2008 and 3,100 in 2012,
according to jurisdiction data. The jurisdiction's postelection report
noted that the increase in the number of address confirmations
required in 2012 was primarily because of the large number of inactive
voters, although the jurisdiction's General Registrar noted that
voters were required to fill out Affirmation of Eligibility forms for
other reasons also.
[65] The postelection report was created by a bipartisan Election
Process Task Force that included a number of private citizens
representing a wide range of experience and participation in county
affairs. This task force was assisted by county staff.
[66] In response to long voter wait times experienced during the 2008
presidential election, the state issued guidance on calculating the
number of voting booths a polling place may need. The guidance
instructs jurisdictions to take into consideration anticipated voter
turnout based on 2008 numbers, the length of the ballot, and the
number of voters a voting booth can process per hour.
[67] According to jurisdiction officials, when they became aware of
the length of the ballot for the 2012 presidential election, testing
was conducted on different constituencies, including the elderly and
groups with varying education levels, to determine the length of time
it might take voters in the jurisdiction to mark their ballots.
[68] Jurisdiction officials stated that in some precincts, they set up
one voting station for every 40 to 60 expected voters. This exceeded
both state law requirements, which mandated one voting station for
every 300 registered voters, and state guidance, which recommended one
voting booth for every 80 to 100 voters.
[69] According to jurisdiction officials, the state redistricted in
response to the 2010 decennial Census results and this led to the
jurisdiction redrawing precinct boundaries, which affected polling
place locations.
[70] Some states allow for Election Day registration, which permits
any qualified resident of the state to register and vote on Election
Day.
[71] The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires that motor
vehicle agencies and agencies that provide public assistance offer
eligible individuals the opportunity to register to vote, among other
things.
[72] State law generally requires board members of fire control,
mosquito control, and community development districts to be elected in
general elections. The jurisdiction's Supervisor of Elections stated
that community development districts are similar to residential
housing associations and that these districts accounted for 44 of the
54 total races on the jurisdiction's ballots.
[73] This jurisdiction was required under section 203 of the Voting
Rights Act to provide voting materials in specified minority languages
in addition to English. See 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a.
[74] For the 2008 election, state law required jurisdictions to offer
between 12 and 14 days of early voting and at least 8 hours on each
weekday during the authorized period. For the 2012 election, state law
required 8 days of early voting and between 6 and 12 hours each day.
[75] For both the 2008 and 2012 elections, state law allowed
jurisdictions to have early voting at city halls, public libraries,
and main or permanent branch offices of the supervisors of elections.
[76] According to election officials, the state legislature
redistricted in response to 2010 decennial Census results and this led
to the jurisdiction redrawing precinct boundaries, which affected
polling place locations. Precinct consolidations generally involved
combining 2 or more precincts into a single precinct and resulted in
changes to the locations of polling places.
[77] In 2013, a state law was enacted that limited ballot summaries
for amendments proposed by a joint resolution to 75 words for the
first measure on the ballot and no longer allows the full text of the
amendment to be used instead of a ballot summary. The word limit does
not apply to ballot summary revisions to correct deficiencies
identified by a court. In the 2012 election, ballot summaries for
amendments or other public measures were subject to a 75-word limit,
but this did not apply to those proposed by a joint resolution.
[78] In 2013, a state law was enacted that requires jurisdictions to
offer between 8 and 14 days of early voting in an election that
contains a state or federal race and between 8 and 12 hours per voting
day. In addition, the law added fairgrounds, civic centers,
courthouses, stadiums, convention centers, and other types of
locations as permissible early voting sites.
[79] According to officials, provisional ballots have increased in
part because many voters who signed up for mail-in voting--
particularly permanent absentee voters--did not realize that they had
done so and came to the polls to vote in person.
[80] Federal, state, county, and applicable local elected offices and
ballot questions are counted for the provisional ballots of
individuals who vote in a precinct other than the one to which they
are assigned. If the ballot cast by the voter contains the same
offices and questions on which the voter would have been entitled to
vote in his or her assigned precinct, the votes for the entire ballot
are counted. If the ballot cast by the voter contains offices or
questions on which the voter would not have been entitled to vote in
his or her assigned precinct, only the votes for which the voter was
entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct are counted.
Jurisdiction officials noted that eligibility for votes to be counted
is determined after the polls close. This state's policy is in
contrast to the policies of states where provisional ballots must be
cast in the precinct in which voters are registered for ballots to be
eligible to be counted.
[81] State law requires that when precinct boundaries are established
or changed, the number of voters in the precinct must not exceed 1,000
on the 88th day prior to the day of election, unless otherwise
provided by law.
[82] State law requires the Secretary of State to mail sample ballots
to registered voters between 21 and 40 days before the election.
[83] The jurisdiction conducts an annual survey of polling place
inspectors. According to its 2012 report on survey results, nearly 95
percent of inspectors said that training prepared them for Election
Day and about 91 percent of inspectors rated their fellow poll workers
positively as either excellent or very good.
[84] The results from our survey are generalizable to this population
of jurisdictions.
[85] The CCES is a survey of a nationally representative stratified
sample of U.S. citizens aged 18 and over. The CCES has been conducted
since 2006 to better understand congressional elections and
representation using large-scale national surveys. The 2012 CCES
surveyed 54,535 U.S. citizens aged 18 and over by Internet about their
views and experiences before and after Election Day 2012. The project
was the result of a collaborative effort of a consortium of research
teams and organizations, and Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard
University was the principal investigator.
[86] We also contacted election officials from the 3 remaining states,
but they declined to be interviewed.
[87] We identified relevant literature using search terms such as
"voter wait times" and "election long lines," among others, in various
databases, including Academic OneFile, Dissertation Abstracts, JSTOR,
PolicyFile, and Social SciSearch.
[88] As with all surveys that rely on self-reported information,
estimates may be imprecise or responses may be subject to recall
error, if based on recollections.
[89] To calculate our response rate, we used a standard definition,
known as RR2, from the American Association for Public Opinion
Research. See American Association for Public Opinion Research, 2011
Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome
Rates for Surveys, 7th edition (2011).
[90] The county equivalents for Alaska were assigned to their
respective election regions.
[91] We did not use numbers of registered voters to define the strata
because Census data on registered voters were not available at the
county and MCD levels nationwide. We also did not use numbers of
eligible voters 18 years and over to define the strata because Census
data allowing us to exclude noncitizens and felons from the 18 years
and over population were also not available at the county and MCD
levels nationwide. Noncitizens are not eligible to vote, and voting
eligibility for citizens convicted of a felony varies among states.
[92] We applied weighting-class adjustments for nonresponse by
multiplying the base sampling weights with the inverse of the stratum
response rates.
[93] We explored analyzing our survey to determine how voter wait
times were associated with selected demographic characteristics and
election administration policies and practices. Limited variation
among reported wait times, with most jurisdictions reporting no or
minimal wait times, made this analysis infeasible because we could not
estimate the associations with enough precision. For example, on the
basis of officials' survey responses, we estimate that 79 percent
(from 75 to 84 percent) of jurisdictions had no polling places and 9
percent (from 6 to 13 percent) had only a few polling places with wait
times of greater than 60 minutes on Election Day 2012.
[94] See, for example, GAO, Elections: The Nation's Evolving Election
System as Reflected in the November 2004 General Election, [hyperlink,
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-450] (Washington, D.C.: June 6,
2006), and Elections: Perspectives on Activities and Challenges Across
the Nation, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-02-3]
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 15, 2001).
[95] The results of GAO's 2014 survey of local election jurisdictions
are generalizable to all jurisdictions nationwide, excluding those
with populations of 10,000 or fewer and jurisdictions in Oregon and
Washington. The survey was not designed to have a sufficient sample to
produce reliable estimates at the state level.
[96] Charles Stewart III conducted a similar analysis of CCES data and
reported wait time estimates based on the combined responses of voters
who voted early and also on Election Day 2012. Our analysis separated
these combined responses to obtain estimates of voter wait times on
Election Day. See Charles Stewart III, "Waiting to Vote in 2012,"
Journal of Law and Politics, vol. 28, 439-463.
[97] We also contacted election officials from the 3 remaining states,
but they declined to be interviewed.
[98] The Election Assistance Commission is an independent federal
agency that was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to
help improve state and local administration of federal elections.
[99] The 2012 CCES survey was conducted in two phases. The preelection
phase was conducted during October 2012, and gauged issue preferences,
knowledge of the candidates, and voter intentions. The postelection
phase was administered in November 2012, following Election Day
(November 6, 2012), and asked, among other things, whether or not
respondents voted, reasons why (if they did not vote), and questions
about their voting experience. Responses to the postelection survey
were based on voter perspectives of their experiences, which could be
subject to recall error or influenced by media coverage.
[100] Stephen Ansolabehere, Cooperative Congressional Election Study,
2012, Common Content: Release 1 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard
University: April 15, 2013).
[End of section]
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