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The 2020 primaries and presidential election took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated changes to how states planned and held their elections, and how they protected voters, poll workers, and administrators.From political and institutional battles over procedural changes, to record-high turnout levels, administering elections in 2020 proved to be a series of anticipated — and unanticipated — challenges. Surges in voting by mail meant many states were breaking new ground; maintaining access to in-person voting also proved uniquely challenging during a global pandemic. Our new report looks at how well the challenges of 2020 were met, from the first primary election to the last vote counted. It also examines the technologies employed, the costs involved in running elections, and the confidence voters ultimately had in the results.
This report documents the results of a nationwide study that the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted in 3,119 individual polling places across the country to measure wait times at the polls during the 2018 midterms. It provides the type of fine-grained analysis of voters' reality as they waited to cast ballots that survey data cannot replicate.
Long lines at the polls can undermine the voting experience, even to the point of discouraging people from voting. Reducing polling place wait times by measuring lines and managing polling place resources can improve the voting experience.