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Thessalia Merivaki, PhD

Assistant Professor in American Politics, Mississippi State University

I am an Assistant Professor in American Politics at Mississippi State University, Department of Political Science and Public Administration. My research agenda is situated within the growing field of Election Sciences, which includes the study of election reforms, election administration, voter education, as well as election data transparency and accessibility. A description of my research can be found at#WomenAlsoKnowStuff here., .

My research focuses on the empirical assessment of election reforms and their impact on the administration of elections across the American states. In my book, titled The Administration of Voter Registration; Expanding the Electorate Across and Within the States,  (Palgrave McMillan) I lay out the complex structure of voter registration in the United States, and demonstrate how the interaction of multiple voter registration partners affects the flow of new voter registrants every election cycle.  

My newly published paper in American Politics Research, “Who is Left Out? The Process of Validating Voter Registration Applications,”  finds that persistent challenges with paper forms leaves pending registrants out of the process even months after an election has passed, which strongly indicates that paper-based voter registration can be a barrier to voter participation. My recent manuscript, titled “Our Voter Rolls are Cleaner than yours: Investigating Voter List Maintenance Practices,” (APR) shows that inactive voters are more vulnerable to inaccuracies in voter records, which can lead to their premature removal from the voter rolls. 

My expertise extends to the comprehensive study of provisional ballots, especially as it relates to voter registration. 
Daniel A. Smith (University of Florida) and I find that voter registration challenges increase the risk of voting provisionally, and disproportionately affect  minority voters. Our paper, “A Failsafe for Voters? Cast and Rejected Provisional Ballots in North Carolina,”  received the MPSA’s 2018 Best paper by an Emerging Scholar Award and is published Political research Quarterly. You can find a summary of this work at MIT’s Media Lab Blog page.

Currently, I am working on two large-scale data collection projects, both with implications for voter access and equity.  In our project with Dr. Chris Mann (Skidmore College), we assess the complexities of successfully registering to vote online during the heavy celebrity-oriented mobilization via social media.  

In our work with Dr. Mara Suttman-Lea (Connecticut College), we take a detailed overview of voter education and outreach policies across the states, in an effort to measure the engagement of local election officials and whether it is conditioned by state election policy (R&R in Election Law Journal). You can find our research brief here

Relevant Media

State Expertise: National
Speaks: English

I can help with...

  • Election Results
  • In-person Voting
  • Mail-in Voting
  • Vote Curing

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