Princeton Election Consortium

Innovations in democracy since 2004

Outcome: Biden 306 EV (D+1.2% from toss-up), Senate 50 D (D+1.0%)
Nov 3 polls: Biden 342 EV (D+5.3%), Senate 50-55 D (D+3.9%), House control D+4.6%
Moneyball states: President AZ NE-2 NV, Senate MT ME AK, Legislatures KS TX NC

The NYC Board of Elections has doxxed at least 378 voters

September 21st, 2021, 2:13pm by Sam Wang


Here at the Electoral Innovation Lab, we’ve been analyzing New York City’s mayoral primary election. It uses a new system, ranked-choice voting, that is meant to resolve differences and reach consensus. It’s the largest such election in the United States to date, with close to 1 million votes cast.

Unfortunately, the management of this election has faced problems. Here, Jesse Clark, Lindsey Cormack (of Stevens Institute of Technology), and I found that it was possible to re-identify at least 378 cast-vote records, assigning them to the voter who cast them. This destroys the privacy of their vote, a serious violation of the New York State Voter’s Bill Of Rights. One of the votes revealed is that of Dante de Blasio, the Mayor’s son.

Here’s coverage at the New York Times and Gothamist. Read our original Electoral Innovation Lab report here.

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Failure to vaccinate increases risk to others as much as drunk driving

September 15th, 2021, 9:47pm by Sam Wang


Today in the Washington Post, I join columnist Leana Wen in considering vaccination’s consequences – for other people. We argue that from the point of view of endangering other people, going unvaccinated is on a par with drunk driving.

Because of deadline pressure, there were several calculations that didn’t make it into the piece.

The relative risk to others of going unvaccinated is remarkably similar to that of drunk driving. Some critics of vaccine requirements have compared going unvaccinated to secondhand smoke – an annoyance to others, but not a major threat. This is categorically false.

[Read more →]

→ 3 CommentsTags: Health

We need your help in North Carolina

August 11th, 2021, 1:48pm by Zachariah Sippy


This week, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project launched our Redistricting Report Card, in partnership with RepresentUS. This project scores proposed redistricting maps on their geographic features, competitiveness, and partisan fairness, while also providing an in-depth view of the estimated partisanship and minority composition of each district in the plan. 

Our tool runs on a robust algorithm that produces a million alternative maps (no joke), but at the same time we’ve worked hard to ensure that it’s also accessible for journalists and activists. 

But in order to combat gerrymandering tools alone will not be enough. We need to respond quickly to draft maps – and for that, we need your help. 

[Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Politics · Redistricting

One more week to win an iPad and the Great American Map-Off!

June 7th, 2021, 6:01pm by Sam Wang


For more information about the competition, click here. All submissions are due by 11:59PM EDT on June 15, 2021.

[Read more →]

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What is differential privacy and could it affect redistricting?

June 2nd, 2021, 5:05pm by Zachariah Sippy


In March, Alabama sued the U.S. Department of Commerce. At the heart of their suit is the claim that the Census Bureau’s disclosure avoidance system— designed to protect the privacy of census respondents, inhibits the state from accurately redistricting.

Alabama, along with more than 15 other states, has argued that the Bureau’s privacy scheme is “arbitrary and capricious,” and may even violate the Voting Rights Act and/or Fifth Amendment.

[Read more →]

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In Monday’s new apportionment, who will lose, Alabama or New York?

April 24th, 2021, 12:34pm by Sam Wang


On Monday afternoon at 3 p.m., the Commerce Department is expected to release the new apportionment from the 2020 Census. It will be posted here, and there will be a press conference on Census Live. Generally, southwestern states will win Congressional seats; the northeast and California will lose. There’s some uncertainty as to whether Alabama will lose 0 or 1 seat, and whether New York will lose 1 or 2 seats. The Census Project has an explainer. Finally, check out this deep dive into historical trends from CUNY’s Redistricting and You.

Update: And the answer is…neither! There are seven seat changes, the smallest of any year going back to 1910 (leaving out the failed reapportionment of 1920). For an overview see my Tweetstorm. More soon…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Redistricting

Building Democracy Back Better With Larry Lessig

April 20th, 2021, 8:43pm by Sam Wang


I had a great conversation with Prof. Larry Lessig on his podcast, Another Way. We talked about the inequalities produced by gerrymandering and the Electoral College, and what Congress and the states can do to fight back. Please listen!

→ 1 CommentTags: Politics · President · Redistricting

Were There Really Reverse Coattails?

April 20th, 2021, 12:48am by Sam Wang


A positive development for the left in the last few years has been the renewed interest in running for downticket races. From Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to legislative candidates nationwide, such efforts are necessary for building a healthy political party.

Last week came a new claim that such efforts are not only directly useful, they can help the top of the ticket. However, this latest evidence for such “reverse coattails” needs some work before it’s ready for prime time. This is not to say that the claim is false. It’s more that the evidence is too preliminary to judge. In basic research, new claims get subjected to close scrutiny through the peer review process. I will offer some comments in that style. I hope they are constructive. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: 2020 Election · Moneyball

Save Wisconsin Democracy With One Weird Trick

April 7th, 2021, 1:39pm by Zachariah Sippy


One of the most notable partisan gerrymanders in the country can be found in Wisconsin. But a repeat of the offense in 2021 can be prevented – with public input. 

Governor Evers has formed a nonpartisan citizen commission to increase transparency and collect public input, regardless of whether the legislature intends to bypass him or not. If you are a Wisconsinite, we encourage you to make your voice heard. While Evers’ commission won’t have the final say, having your voice on the record could play a key role in potential future litigation. 

Keep on reading!

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Utah House Bill 197

February 23rd, 2021, 8:39am by Jason Fierman


This year will see a number of state-level legislative actions, as governments across the country look to change rules that affect the ability of voters to participate in elections.

One example may be found in the Utah House, which is considering Utah House Bill 197. HB 197 would significantly alter the election code of the state. Briefly, the law would mandate a change in how the state government processes voter registration forms. Any registration form submitted after March 31 would not be in effect for that year’s primary election.

Our analysis of Utah voter registration data indicates that support for the bill is motivated by a mistaken belief: that Republican registration in 2020 grew due to Democratic voters crossing over to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 Republican primary. Our research suggests that the growth of 2020 Republican registration comes from new registration and unaffiliated voters choosing to re-register. For an in-depth overview of this interesting and evolving topic, check out our Utah HB 197 memo, which is linked here.

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