Though the administration of elections is improving in most states, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trust’s State and Consumer Initiatives, California still ranks near the bottom, at 49th out of 50 states, ahead of Mississippi. North Dakota topped the list, which compared performance in 2012 with that of 2008 according to a variety of measures, such as access to online registration and performing post-election audits of the vote.
California’s score improved slightly, from 52% to 54%. Nevertheless, the state’s performance fell sharply in a number of areas, including the rate of return of absentee ballots and the ease of finding voter information, such as polling places, online. California has been “among the five lowest-performing states, and one of only six states in the bottom 25 percent in all three years” of the study, which was also conducted for the 2010 election.
Despite leading the country in high-tech innovation, and providing the talent and software for data mining and voter contact efforts by national campaigns, the state that is home to Silicon Valley provided no useful online tools for voters, Pew noted: “California is one of only two states…in 2012 that offered no voting information lookup tools in 2012.” The study says more research is needed into why so few absentee ballots are returned.