Verifying Voter Registration Records: Part of Special Symposium on Election Sciences
This study investigates the reliability of Florida’s voter registration files through a phone survey, asking respondents to verify their records. We find 17.7% of registrants fail to verify at least one identifying piece of information. Applying the total survey error (TSE) framework, we classify these errors as due to coverage error, measurement error, or processing error. These inconsistencies create election administration and campaign inefficiencies, which lead to poorer voter experiences, and challenge the validity of some research based on these data. Furthermore, if registration records do not accurately capture the members of protected groups, the data are less helpful in both government monitoring and enforcement. We suggest voter registration forms should be treated like survey questionnaires so as to improve data quality with better form design, and that some vote overreport bias is attributable to limitations of voter file data, not to respondents’ vote misreporting.
American Politics Research
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Shino, E., Martinez, M.D., McDonald, M.P., Smith, D.A. (2020) Verifying Voter Registration Records: Part of Special Symposium on Election Sciences. American Politics Research, 48(6), 677-681.