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Bolstering Funding and Practices for Resilient Elections

American politics is more polarized today than ever before, resulting in many democratic institutions becoming political targets. Local and state election systems are at the forefront—frontline election workers are leaving the field at alarming rates and public trust in election results is deteriorating. As pressure mounts on our state and local election systems, insufficient funding for this vital government service has failed to be addressed, impacting election security and infrastructure.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics have assembled a team of policy experts and practitioners to examine why the study of funding our election systems is so difficult as compared to other government services and to highlight models of success at the local level.

“This partnership between the Dole and Kennedy Institutes underscores that building a resilient election process is not a partisan issue, but one our entire country must get behind.”

Adam Hinds
CEO, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

“This project focuses on the fundamental resources – human and financial – that are required to administer secure and trusted elections, the foundation of our democracy.”

Audrey Coleman
Director, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Watch Videos from the 2024 Election Administration Symposium

Over the course of two days in February 2024, the Institutes convened election officials and policy experts in Lawrence, Kansas at the Dole Institute to evaluate why the study of our elections funding is so difficult as compared to other government services and to learn about election administration case studies directly from chief and local election officials.


Full Schedule of Symposium Events

Bolstering Elections Administration: A Conversation with State and Local Officials

with Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab and Douglas County, KS Clerk Jamie Shew

Level Setting: Overview of Election Administration Landscape

with Prof. Mitchell Brown, Auburn University

Level Setting: Why is the Study of Election Funding So Difficult?

with Prof. Charles Stewart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Case Study: Elections in North Carolina

with Prof. Zach Mohr, University of Kansas, and Prof. Martha Kropf, University of North Carolina

A Conversation with Election Assistance Commissioners

with U.S. Election Assistance Commissioners Donald Palmer and Benjamin Hovland

In Conversation with State Officials

with Bryan Caskey, Kansas Elections Director

The Kansas Connection: In Conversation with Local Officials

with Jamie Doss, Saline County, KS Clerk, and Janet Paddock, Franklin County, KS Clerk

Where Do We Go From Here?

with Matt Weil, Bipartisan Policy Center

Working Group Participants

The Dole and Kennedy Institutes have convened a core group of experts to examine the complex question of why the study of funding our election systems is so difficult as compared to other government services.

Tammy Patrick

Former Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration

Dr. Mitchell Brown

Auburn University

Dr. Paul Gronke

Reed College

Dr. Kathleen Hale

Auburn University

Dr. Martha Kropf

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Dr. Paul Manson

Reed College

Dr. Zach Mohr

University of Kansas

Rachel Orey

Bipartisan Policy Center

Dr. Charles Stewart


Matt Weil

Bipartisan Policy Center

“The Right To Vote Is The Fundamental Political Right In Our Constitutional System. It Is The Cornerstone Of All Our Other Basic Rights. It Guarantees That Our Democracy Will Be A Government Of The People And By The People, Not Just For The People.”


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