December 02, 2007

Another Report to the EAC Buried?

In May 2005, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission awarded a contract to the Eagleton Institute of Politics (which subcontracted with Election Law @ Moritz) to produce a study on provisional voting. On July 28, 2005 Thomas O'Neil and Dan Tokaji gave a powerpoint presentation about the status of the research on provisional voting, indicating that much of the research was already completed.

The EAC never released that study. At a Feb 2007 meeting of the EAC, EAC researcher Karen Lynn-Dyson described (pdf pp. 114-116) the various Eagleton projects (including the controversial voter identification report, which the EAC has never adopted but which it eventually released under pressure). Speaking of the provisional balloting study, Lynn-Dyson remarked: "Findings from Eagleton's study of provisional voting that was a part of EEG's overall study were included in EAC Best Practices On Provisional Voting, which this agency published in October, 22 2006." (You can find that best practices guide here.)

But it does not appear the the EAC ever released the underlying Eagleton study. Why not? According to this testimony from Christopher Thomas of the EAC Board of Advisors, the Board found the provisional balloting study "lacking in significant areas." See also pp. 24-25 here, where Mr. Thomas (misidentified as Mr. Nelson on the transcript, which also has the wrong date), states: "we did see the provisional balloting study before it was released, and I do understand that once its given to the board, it becomes a public document. We found some definite issues in that report, and I think the comments from both boards serve the process well, in terms of having that report brought up to snuff, if you will." I did not see any further discussion of what issues the Board of Advisors may have had with the study.

As I said, it appears the report has never been released (despite the understanding of Mr. Thomas in the quote above that the report became a public document when given to the Board for review). Someone (unrelated to Eagleton, Moritz, or the EAC) sent me the report, and I am posting it here along with the appendices. In light of the EAC's commitment, following past controversies, to release all of its reports I do not understand why this report was not released. (Perhaps it has been released and is simply not on the EAC website.) If there are methodological problems with the report, as the EAC claimed with voter id, it could have released the report without endorsing its findings.

Eagleton Report on Provisional Voting
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F, 491 pages of state statutes, is too large for me to post.

Posted by Rick Hasen at December 2, 2007 09:32 PM