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I’m always excited about the New Year, but I’m especially looking forward to 2017 because it means my friend and colleague Tammy Patrick will be adding her name to the list of individuals offering online grad-level courses as part of the University of Minnesota’s Certificate in Election Administration program!

Tammy will be teaching PA 5982, Data Analysis for Election Administration, which will take advantage of her considerable experience in harnessing data to improve election administration.

In case you aren’t aware of Tammy’s work – or want a refresher – here’s her bio from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC):

Tammy Patrick is a BPC fellow focusing on the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, to which she was appointed by President Obama in 2013 and served as a commissioner. Previously, she worked for 11 years as a federal compliance officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona, serving more than 1.9 million registered voters in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Patrick has been active in election administration modernization and reform for many years and has provided testimony to both state and federal legislatures. Her areas of expertise cover a wide spectrum, from serving on the U.S. Postal Service’s Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee on election mail to working on providing language assistance in unwritten languages and common data formats for election results reporting.

Tammy’s PA 5982 will highlight the importance of evidence-based election administration, which focuses on collection and analysis of quantitative data to solve problems and identify opportunities for improvement. There will be an emphasis on pre-election forecasting for planning purposes as well as post-election auditing of election results.

Throughout the course, students will:

  • Identify sources of data in the election process
  • Learn the best ways to obtain data that’s not currently being collected
  • Use data to forecast turnout and other Election Day events to assist with pre-election planning
  • Apply data analysis techniques to post-election reviews as part of continuous improvement

Even better, Tammy has enlisted a wide range of colleagues from the election world to provide their perspectives on why data is so important to election administration.

I’m also excited that my friends (and design experts) Dana Chisnell and Whitney Quesenbery will be back to teach their first-in-the nation course on Election Design (PA 5975).

Those courses bring our total offerings to six courses, with more yet to come:

  • PA 5971 Survey in Election Administration (Chapin)
  • PA 5972 Elections and the Law (Chapin)
  • PA 5973 Strategic Management for Election Administration (Jacobs)
  • PA 5975 Election Design (Chisnell/Quesenbery)
  • PA 5982 Data Analysis for Election Administration (Patrick)
  • PA 5974 Capstone in Election Administration (Chapin)

We are still enrolling students for the spring semester and courses are open to all interested individuals.

IMPORTANT NOTE: while the CEA is a graduate-level program, our courses are available for students, practitioners or anyone else who wants to learn more about election administration. You need not have a bachelor’s degree to register for one or more courses – undergraduates and experienced professionals are welcome and encouraged. Discounts are also available for groups enrolling from the same office or organization.

If you have any questions about the program, please visit the CEA website or contact me or my colleague Lea Chittenden.

I am excited to have Tammy Patrick joining our team – and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow the course list in 2017 and beyond! Stay tuned…