Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Aug 10: Biden 364 EV (D+6.2% from toss-up), Senate 52 D, 48 R (D+4.4%), House control D+4.2%
Moneyball states: Senate MT AK SC, Legislatures KS TX NC

Elections, neuroscience…and Bill Nye!

April 19th, 2020, 10:18am by Sam Wang

(photo taken February 6th)

I was on with Bill Nye and Corey S. Powell to talk about elections, polls, and neuroscience. It was a lively and fun conversation – take a listen!

Topics: the Electoral College, polls, what neuroscientists do for fun, gerrymandering…lots of topics. Those guys move fast!

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Why did the doubling time accelerate in New York?

April 18th, 2020, 6:18pm by Sam Wang

In the last few days, the doubling time of death has decreased – an apparent acceleration. Why is that? Well…more people are dying now, in particular in New York. It’s not apparent in other states. Could be a backlog of reporting, in which case the doubling time will get back to lengthening soon. For now, we must assume that there’s still a problem.

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Fixing Bugs In Democracy: Dave Daley, author of Unrigged

April 17th, 2020, 5:07pm by Sam Wang

Dave Daley’s the Hunter S. Thompson of democracy reform. His reportage is the indispensable resource. First with Ratf***ed, his chronicle of gerrymandering. Now he’s out with Unrigged, his story of how citizens are rising up all over the nation to restore and strengthen democracy. Tune in at 6:00pm Eastern!

Click here to watch Dave Daley’s Virtual Town Hall
from Friday, April 17th  [YouTube]

“Fixing Bugs in Democracy” is a series of virtual town halls, targeting problems in our democracy, and how to fix them.

Watch a playlist of our past Virtual Town Halls here.


“Fixing Bugs in Democracy” is a collaboration between Princeton Gerrymandering Project, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, Service Focus, and Princeton University Public Lectures.

→ 1 CommentTags: Politics · Redistricting · U.S. Institutions

Curve Bent

April 13th, 2020, 1:50pm by Sam Wang

There it is. Time to double the number of deaths, as of today: US 7.2 days, NJ 6.5 days, NY 7.3 days.

The number of deaths approximately reflects new infections as of about 2-3 weeks ago. Therefore the number of new infections was doubling every 7 days. Since infection itself lasts about 2 weeks, i.e. an average of 1 week, this means that the newly infected were approximately equal to the newly recovered. That suggests the number of infected peaked – and is therefore should be on the decline.

Note that deaths is a good way to track the course of covid-19. Even if underreported, the degree of underreporting is less likely to change than the number of confirmed cases.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Health

Bernie Sanders’s parting gift to Wisconsin voters

April 11th, 2020, 12:07pm by Sam Wang

When it comes to partisan warfare, Wisconsin is at the top of any list. In 2011, Republicans, with the help of their Governor Scott Walker, committed one of the most egregious gerrymanders of all time. The General Assembly locked itself into power for a decade. Now, thanks to Bernie Sanders’s persistence, Democrats may take a small step toward building a defense against more depredations in 2021.

The story you may have seen in this week’s national news is somewhat different. It is a tale of (a) Bernie mulishly refusing to get out of the Presidential race, (b) state court and the U.S. Supreme Court stepping in to limit vote-counting and prevent Governor Evers from delaying the election, and (c) long lines for voting that could spread coronavirus and depress turnout.I think all of these ideas are wrong. Today in The Hill, I argue that turnout was unusually high – thanks to a combination of Bernie staying in the race and record levels of mail-in voting. I also think that the threat to life caused by in-person voting was likely to be minimal. Check it out.

Update, April 13, 8:00pm: And, Karofsky wins, 55-45, with 1.55 million votes cast overall. The big lesson, to me, is twofold. (1) Give people a shiny object to make them turn out. (2) Get mail-in voting ready for November. There’s likely to be a second coronavirus outbreak in the fall. We have to be ready to have an orderly election that is conducted mostly by mail.

Correction: In the 2019 state Supreme Court race, 1.2 million votes were cast and counted. Still not as high as last week’s turnout – and without the motivating factor of a Democratic primary.

→ 2 CommentsTags: 2020 Election · Health · Politics · President · Redistricting

TODAY: Fixing Bugs in Democracy, A Virtual Town Hall with Katie Fahey

April 10th, 2020, 8:34am by Sam Wang

Today we’re pleased to present our latest virtual town hall on problems in our democracy and how to fix them. Professor Julian Zelizer and I talk with Katie Fahey, who launched a movement to change redistricting in Michigan. Our focus: how to organize everywhere – even in today’s weird conditions.

To hear the virtual town hall, here’s the rough audio cut.

Click here to register for the virtual town halls, and for access to the new movie about gerrymandering, “Slay the Dragon”!

Full-size flyer here: [

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Governor Northam’s chance to improve redistricting reform in Virginia

April 8th, 2020, 10:49am by Aaron Barden

In Virginia, Governor Northam has a chance to add protections for minorities in redistricting reform. This comes thanks to an unusual provision in the legislative process there, the veto session.

In November, Virginia voters will vote on a constitutional amendment to give part of the redistricting power to citizens. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s one-page summaries of the amendment’s minority protections, commission process, and transparency requirements (which supplement our February 2020 report) describe some missing components: added protections for minorities and political parties. These protections require enabling legislation, which the General Assembly had the power to pass, but didn’t before the end of their legislative session.

Governor Northam still has the power to compel a vote on this enabling legislation’s key provisions. Now presented with bills for his signature, he can also send them back modified for consideration by the General Assembly, in a take-it-or-leave-it process known as a veto session. This veto session provides one last shot at adding protections to strengthen the reform. [Read more →]

Comments Off on Governor Northam’s chance to improve redistricting reform in VirginiaTags: Redistricting

Sam on UnPresidented, with Cliff Schecter and John Aravosis

April 7th, 2020, 5:49pm by Sam Wang

Today I had a great conversation with Cliff Schecter and John Aravosis on their podcast, UnPresidented. Mostly we talked about the math and science of coronavirus. But we also got into Wisconsin politics as well as the neuroscience of having an obsessively complete command of U.S. political history. And we even talked about the Lochner court! Take a listen.

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Coronavirus epidemic: The end of the beginning?

April 7th, 2020, 6:30am by Sam Wang

Mathematical models of the disease are useful for state/national-level decisionmaking. But they don’t seem to address what we need as individuals. So Lucas Manning, Ben Deverett, and I calculated some simpler things. Basically, I think we’re at or slightly past the point of maximum personal risk. We just have to shelter for another…month!

Yesterday I visited friends by standing outside their houses, talking at 3-4 meters. We’re also getting good at Zoom dinner parties – distance socializing. By continuing to shelter in place, we are all doing our part.

Are you tired of the sheltering? I have bad news…and good news. My focus is New Jersey. What I say also applies to New York City and state. I will give information about other states along the way.

First, the bad news. Our state just passed 1,000 deaths. The total number of deaths has doubled in the last 3.9 days, according to our analysis. At this speed, the total number of people currently infected in N.J. is, in all likelihood, the highest it has ever been in this epidemic. Take care, now more than ever. Postpone even necessary errands for a few days.

And now, the good news: the infection rate may be starting to creep down a little – all across the nation! Even with uncertainties of counting and testing, the available evidence supports this conclusion. [Read more →]

→ 3 CommentsTags: Princeton · Uncategorized

Fixing Bugs In Democracy: A Conversation with Ellen Weintraub

April 3rd, 2020, 11:55pm by Sam Wang

Here’s the first conversation in our series Fixing Bugs In Democracy. Yesterday, Federal Election Commission member Ellen L. Weintraub.

Keep track of future events at Coming up: Katie Fahey on Friday, April 10, and Dave Daley on Friday, April 17!

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