How do Elections Work?

Speaker Date: October 13, 2023

How do elections work? After recent elections many people have questions about how elections work, who runs them, and are they secure?

Beyond voting and campaigning most Americans know little about how elections work behind the scenes. This lack of understanding can lead to questions about elections, voting machines, and ways to make elections accessible and accountable.


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Mary Jo McGowan
UNC Charlotte Department of Political Science & Public Administration


UNC Charlotte
Free Class Audit:
Elections Performance Index
Electoral Integrity Project 
Voting Equipment
Elections Performance Index
Mary Jo McGowan is a faculty member at UNC Charlotte in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

Her research focus is on public policies relating to elections and running for office. She is a part of a research team studying impacts of election administration on electoral outcomes.

The team (Martha Kropf, Zachary Mohr, Mary Jo McGowan and JoEllen V. Pope) will publish their study of election costs A Republic If You Can Afford It: How Much Does it Cost to Administer an Election later this year.

Additionally, she studies policy complexity and its effect on outcome variables such as candidate decisions to run for office. Dr. McGowan teaches in the Model UN, Public Policy, and introductory Political Science courses. She is the Undergraduate Director for the Political Science Dept and Director of the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte.