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The Evolution of Professionalism in the Field of Election Administration

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The Future of Election Administration

Part of the book series: Elections, Voting, Technology ((EVT))


As the pressures on election administration have changed over the years, so has the need for a more professionalized workforce. In this chapter, the authors discuss the trajectory of professionalism in election administration. They begin with a history of professionalism in the field, provide an overview of extant training and education, and analyze differences in professionalism across the states and covariates to these differences. They conclude with a discussion of how the professionalism of the field should move forward to better support the future of election administration.

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  1. 1.

    We collapsed the counts into an ordinal variable using quartiles and scaled it to match the other variables.

  2. 2.

    The iteration we present here includes the Election Center, Democracy Fund, Bipartisan Policy Center, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and the National Association of Secretary of State (NASS). In the case of NASS, the measure reflects designation as the chair and co-chair of its Elections Committee. Relationships between local, state and national organizations through board membership and key committees are linked to professionalism, development of new institutional architecture, and innovation across a variety of substantive areas in public service (Hale 2011; Tolbert et al. 2008).

  3. 3.

    This variable was generated by Katy Owens Hubler through her work with the National Conference on State Legislatures.

  4. 4.

    Our thanks to Lindsey Forson, one of our graduate students, with help collecting this information.


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Brown, M., Hale, K. (2020). The Evolution of Professionalism in the Field of Election Administration. In: Brown, M., Hale, K., King, B. (eds) The Future of Election Administration. Elections, Voting, Technology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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