Unlike in many western democracies, in the United States the mechanisms through which elections are run (collectively referred to as election administration) are generally managed at the state and local rather than the national level - by 50 state laws across 4,600 jurisdictions and overseen by 13,000 administrators. This variation in oversight and practice, alongside technological and other challenges, contribute to a myriad of problems that impact citizens' ability to vote and to have their vote counted. These problems include the long lines referenced in President Obama's 2012 election night victory speech, which served as the impetus for the creation of the Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in 2013. The EAC has a broad mandate to explore possibilities ranging from improving poll worker recruitment and training to the management of voter rolls, but only a six month window in which to assess the problem and devise recommendations. This relatively narrow window and the political prominence of the effort creates both a challenge and an opportunity to advance research and identify promising reforms that otherwise would take years to develop. This grant would support America's top political scientists in election administration to assemble the best research available and to communicate that research to both the EAC and the public in the development of the EAC's finding and recommendations.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for J-PAL’s core efforts to reduce poverty by informing policy and practice with evidence
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded on the belief that anti-poverty programs can be made more effective — thus creating positive change in the lives of the poor — if policymakers have access to rigorous scientific evidence on what works and the capacities to apply it. J-PAL pursues three goals: (a) developing the capacity of researchers (including those from low- and middle-income countries) to lead randomized impact evaluations; (b) generating evidence through randomized evaluations that respond to pressing policy problems; and (c) promoting the systematic use and adaptation of evidence in informing policy windows and decision-making processes through tailored synthesis, targeted outreach, and technical assistance. These broad goals lay the foundation for achieving J-PAL's ultimate objective, which aligns with our Evidence-Informed Policymaking strategy: to improve the lives of the poor globally by closing the gap between research, policy, and practice.
for a joint position in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Economics
The mission of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is to address the opportunities and challenges of the computing age — from hardware to software to algorithms to artificial intelligence — by transforming the capabilities of academia in the three key areas: computing fields, computing across disciplines, and social and ethical aspects of computing. This grant supports a dual position in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Economics at MIT, with the goal of catalyzing the integration of behavioral science into computer science.