Election Administration and Reform


Students in this policy lab will research administrative problems that have plagued recent elections, as well as potential reform proposals. The areas of inquiry will include: wait times to vote, polling place location and management, poll worker recruitment and training, voting accessibility for uniformed and overseas voters, individuals with disabilities, limited English proficiency, voter rolls and poll books, voting machine capacity and technology, ballot simplicity and voter education, provisional ballots, absentee and early voting, and the adequacy of contingency plans for natural disasters and other emergencies that may disrupt elections.

Students will be responsible for white papers on one or more of these issues, as well as creating bibliographies on these and related topics.

Students may normally receive no more than four units for a Policy Lab practicum and no more than a total of eight units of Policy Lab practicums and Directed Research projects combined may be counted toward graduation unless additional units for graduation are approved in advanced by the Petitions Committee. A student cannot receive a letter grade for more than eight units of independent research (Policy Lab practicum, Directed Research, Senior Thesis, and/or Research Track). Any units taken in excess of eight will be graded on a mandatory pass basis. Consent Application: To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form available on the SLS Registrar’s Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students) to the instructor. See Consent Application Form for contact information and submission deadline. Elements used in grading: Written Assignments.

Related Links

Presidential Commission releases election recommendations and report based on research directed by SLS professor Nathaniel Persily


Nathaniel Persily 1

Nathaniel Persily

  • James B. McClatchy Professor of Law
  • Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Co-Director, Cyber Policy Center
  • Professor, by courtesy, Political Science
  • Professor, by courtesy, Communications

Clients & Deliverables


Students researched administrative problems that have plagued recent elections, and formulated potential reform proposals.