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R. Michael Alvarez

Professor of Political and Computational Social Science, California Institute of Technology, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project

R. Michael Alvarez received his B.A. from Carleton College, and his Ph.D. from Duke University, both in political science. He has taught at the California Institute of Technology his entire career, focusing on elections, voting behavior, election technology, and research methodologies, and is a Professor of Political and Computational Social Science. He has written or edited a number of books (most recently, the edited volume Computational Social Science, and Nonpartisan Primary Election Reform, Mitigating Mischief) and scores of academic articles and reports.

He has studied elections throughout the world, working closely with public officials in many locations to improve their elections. His current research projects include using machine learning to detect election fraud, developing social media tools to assess election problems in real time, and statistical auditing of voter registration databases. He is currently collaborating with state and county election officials in the United States developing and using these tools for the November 2020 Presidential election.

Alvarez is currently the co-director of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, which since the 2000 Presidential election has been working to improve the security and integrity of elections throughout the world. He is also leads the Monitoring the Election project at Caltech, which has been working since 2018 on building tools and methods to help improve the integrity of elections, focusing largely on collaborations with election officials in California and Oregon.
Alvarez’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Haynes Foundation, and the John Irvine Foundation. He was named to the Scientific American 50 in 2004 for his research on voting technologies. Alvarez is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Fellow of the Society for Political Methodology, and is co-director of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project. He has also received awards for his teaching and mentoring, including twice receiving the Caltech Graduate Student Council’s Teaching & Mentoring Award.

State Expertise: National, Calif., Ore., Wash.
Speaks: English

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