October 29, 2018

Elections in America: Concerns Over Security, Divisions Over Expanding Access to Voting

Appendix A: Categorization of states in this report

Accessibility of elections

This report uses a measure of how accessible voting is in a state. States are categorized as having “more accessible” voting laws if they have at least one of the following laws: 1) early voting before Election Day, 2) absentee voting without having to provide a reason (also known as “no-excuse absentee voting”) or 3) conducts elections entirely by mail (Colorado, Oregon and Washington only). States without any of these laws are classified as states with “less accessible” voting laws

There are 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, with “more accessible” laws. They are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. About three-quarters of the public lives in these states.

The 13 “less accessible” states are: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia. Overall, about a quarter of the public lives in these states. The data and classification for this measure come from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). These data were current as of September 20, 2018.

Election Day voter registration

The report uses a measure of whether a state allows voter registration on Election Day or not. There are 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow same-day voter registration in some form; these states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. This measure was created using data on voter registration from Vote.org, last updated January 13, 2018. Maryland, which allows same day voter registration during the early voting period, but not on Election Day, is not included in this coding as a same-day registration state.

Partisan control of state government

A three-category measure of partisan control of state government is used throughout the report. States are categorized as either controlled by the Republican Party, controlled by the Democratic Party or having divided control. States are controlled by a party when that party holds the majority in both chambers of the state legislature (or the single chamber in Nebraska) and the governor of the state is a member of the same party.

The data and categories for this measure come from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and were last updated on July 10, 2018.

Using this definition, 25 states are controlled by the Republican Party, 8 states plus D.C. are controlled by the Democratic Party and 16 have divided control. The 25 states controlled by the Republican Party are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The 8 states, plus the District of Columbia, controlled by the Democratic Party are: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington. The 16 divided control states are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia. The NCSL omits Nebraska from its classification because its unicameral legislature is officially nonpartisan.