Voting is one of the critical ways for citizens to voice their opinions and desires to leaders and express their will for the direction of the country. But while voting is the crucial bedrock of a healthy democracy, citizens’ access to voting varies considerably within the states where elections are the most hotly contested.
With election administration delegated to officials and boards in more than 3,000 counties and localities in the United States, the ease with which one exercises his or her right to vote can depend on where he or she lives. Not only do state voting laws differ across the nation, even within a state, county-based election administration varies widely.
This report evaluates the election performance of counties in the 17 states that had the smallest margin of victory between the two presidential candidates in 2012. This analysis allows us to better understand how well the election process is working within a state, and will hopefully encourage state and local officials to consider how they can improve the voting experience for their citizens.