More Votes That Count: A Case Study in Voter Mobilization


This collection grew from the experience of a group of scholars at the University of the Pacific who were challenged by the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters to reduce voter error, improve poll worker-training, and increase voting by mail (absentee voting). The project was supported by funds from the help America Vote Act (HAVA), legislation passed in the wake of Florida's experience in the 2000 presidential election, and by the Pew Foundation for the States. Its immediate context was a controversy in California over the use of voting machines, a controversy that resulted in a return to the use of paper balloting at least for the near term. Both the Florida experience and the controversy in California reflect a growing realization that the electoral system itself has influenced the outcomes of elections rather than provided a level playing field for all candidates and all voters. In addition, the costs and potential costs of elections have skyrocketed with the increasing participation of media consultants, equipment manufacturers, and data specialists. In other words, the voting system is increasingly political and expensive in itself. Can and should such trends be reversed? The experience of San Joaquin County and research at the University of the Pacific shed light on this important question.

Robert Benedetti, editor
Publication date: 
November 23, 2012
Publication type: 
California Politics & Government