Election administration is approaching a cliff precipitated by high turnover, stymied recruitment, and the loss of institutional knowledge. Without intervention, we risk reaching a point at which elections are administered and staffed by a wave of new officials grappling with the complexities of their role while operating under intense public scrutiny. Even for experienced officials, new challenges require new competencies. Onboarding new workers and preparing existing workers for new challenges will be critical in ensuring that elections are trusted and trustworthy, even as threats shift and grow.
Despite high turnover, we don’t have good data on just how many election officials have left, how turnover rates have changed over time, or how they compare to other public service positions. And despite a renewed focus on training and development, little research has been done on what training approaches and curricula are most effective. Creating a sustainable elections workforce in the long term will require investing now in research that helps us better understanding the current landscape to find actionable, evidence-based solutions.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Elections Project and The Elections Group (TEG) have made $500,000 available to support research projects that generate new findings on election administration recruitment, retention, and training. The goal is to lay the empirical foundation to solve workforce challenges in election administration in the long term.
See full RFP for additional guidance and submission instructions.
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