During recent years, U.S. states have often diverged by adopting either more lenient or stricter electoral procedures. What have been the consequences of these laws for the risks of voter suppression or voter fraud? Heated partisan debate surrounds this question. To consider new evidence, the paper studies variations in the logistical costs of registration and balloting in state laws to generate the most appropriate within-country comparison. Part I sets out the conceptual and theoretical framework. Part II describes the research design that takes advantage of a new dataset, PEI-US-2014, based on an expert survey of Perceptions of Electoral Integrity conducted in 21 U.S. states immediately after the 2014 U.S. Congressional elections. This data is combined with a new Convenience Election Laws Index (CEL) summarizing variations in the leniency of state laws for registering and voting. Multilevel (HLM) analysis is used to compare the state-level CEL index against expert evaluations of the integrity of the registration and voting process. Part III presents the results of the analysis. The conclusion in Part IV draws together the major findings and considers their implications.
Norris, Pippa, and Holly Ann Garnett. "Voter Suppression or Voter Fraud in the 2014 US Elections?" HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP15-040, July 2015.