New SGPP Assistant Professor Receives Grant to Measure Voting Equity in Elections

March 27, 2024
Tessa Provins standing outside with white shirt and brown scarf

Tessa Provins, an incoming assistant professor in the School of Government and Public Policy, or SGPP, at the University of Arizona, was recently awarded a grant from Public Agenda, a research-to-action nonprofit dedicated to building democracy. The funding was announced in a press release.

The inaugural study, Creating the Measure of Vote Equity (MOVE) Score for Local Election Administration, is part of Public Agenda’s Democracy Renewal Project, which catalyzes rigorous research and develops actionable strategies to enhance American democracy. 

Provins, who joins SGPP in the fall of 2024, is part of ten teams of scholars representing political science and other social science disciplines that will receive $500,000 in funding to conduct practice-relevant studies showing how to achieve universal access to elections. 

The funding will allow Provins’ team to advance crucial exploration of how states, provinces, regions, and municipalities’ regulations and contexts influence electoral fairness for voters nationwide and foster a more inclusive and equitable democratic system.

"We are honored to have been selected to receive funding as part of the Public Agenda's Democracy Renewal Project,” Provins said. “This support enables us to continue our vital work in exploring how subnational rules and contexts shape electoral equity for voters across the United States, furthering our commitment to a more inclusive and fair democratic process."

The first Democracy Renewal Project research cycle is focused on how to achieve full access to electoral participation for all citizens while strengthening trust in elections. The cycle is timed to enable researchers to take full advantage of the 2024 presidential election.

As the funded research projects are completed, Public Agenda will transform findings into practical tools and resources tailored for pro-democracy advocates, policymakers, and funders. Provins’ team will create a publicly available dataset that stakeholders can use to identify disparities and advocate for greater electoral access at the local level.

"Public Agenda launched the Democracy Renewal Project because a major barrier to success in efforts to strengthen democracy is the lack of high-quality, actionable evidence,” said Andrew J. Seligsohn, President of Public Agenda. “I’m pleased by the breadth, quality, and importance of the studies we are funding through this first cycle. These projects will be valuable to people seeking to make improvements to our democracy, and they demonstrate the value of investing in rigorous research that’s focused on questions at the heart of pro-democracy practice.”