2018 Pre-APSA Workshop:

“Building Better Elections: New Challenges in Electoral Management” 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Massachusetts Institute of Technology · Boston, MA, USA



Conference Theme

In 2017, election management bodies (EMBs) around the world were confronted with a number of new challenges: presidential elections in Kenya were declared invalid amidst allegations of problems with the electoral commission’s databases and computers; elections in Papua New Guinea were delayed in some areas due to striking poll workers and concerns about the accuracy of the electoral register; and a commission on voter fraud in the United States was thwarted by state electoral officials refusing to release data.

In response to these challenges, researchers from around the globe have renewed their focus on electoral management issues in both domestic and comparative perspective. This workshop aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to discuss major challenges in electoral management, and foster new collaborations.

This workshop invites paper proposals relating to any new challenges of electoral management, including (but not limited to):

  • Electoral Technology (biometrics, online registration, e-voting, security and trust)
  • Convenience voting measures (postal ballots, early voting, access for disabled and other marginalized voters)
  • Regulating new media and campaign finance (the role of electoral officials in regulation and prosecution of violations)
  • Electoral dispute resolution (the legal constraints/powers of EMBs and responses to challenged results)
  • Protecting electoral security (pre-electoral, election day, vote count both personal and technological)

This workshop will be unique in facilitating the input of practitioners in these scholarly debates by inviting two discussants per panel: one from the scholarly community, and one from the practitioner community, in order to engage in better discussion with those working on the front-lines of electoral management.

This workshop also aims to bring together both American and international scholars. A special round0table will feature leading scholars from both the American and international election sciences community. They will be asked to speak about how the international community has influenced their own work, and present some potential avenues for further collaboration. After this round-table, break-out groups will be made based on major themes, and scholars and practitioners will have the opportunity to network and share their research interests.

Paper proposals (with a maximum 250-word abstract) are due on March 23, 2018.

Preliminary Schedule



Potential Output

The major output for this conference will be an edited volume and/or special issue of a journal focusing on the major new challenges in electoral management around the globe, edited by the co-chairs.


For further information, please contact the co-chairs: Holly Ann Garnett (holly.garnett@mail.mcgill.ca) and Toby S. James (T.S.James@uea.ac.uk).


Co-sponsored by:

The Electoral Management Network (www.electoralmanagement.com)

The Electoral Integrity Project (www.electoralintegrityproject.com)

The MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL) (www.electionlab.mit.edu)