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Pew Study: Security of Voting Rights Depends on Where You Live

Brenden Timpe

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a nifty interactive report this week that compares the 50 states and the District of Columbia on their administration of elections.

Pew gathered information from the Census Bureau, public surveys, and other sources to develop its Elections Performance Index. So far, the data is available only for the 2008 and 2010 elections, but it makes clear that the security of your voting rights depends heavily on where you live.

Top performers in 2008 were the midwestern trio of Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Washington and Oregon broke into the top three in 2010. At the bottom of the list were states like Mississippi, California, and New York. 

So what separates the best from the worst? The report can be broken into 17 individual indicators that track factors like turnout, the number of provisional ballots states use, and time spent waiting in line to vote.

In California and Mississippi, for example, if a voter in 2010 wanted to look up their registration status or polling location online, they’d be out of luck. They are among the 11 states that offered no tools to guide Internet-savvy voters.