Source Alert

USC experts available during #Election2020

Election Day stress. Who shows up to vote, and who doesn’t. How the media will cover the election results. Whether the results will be contested. USC experts are available to answer questions on these election-related issues.

November 03, 2020

Contact: Jenesse Miller 213-810-8554 or

USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll revealed a stable race

Election day expert Robert Shrum sitting in his office.“The race remains remarkably stable and if all the ballots are received and actually counted, Joe Biden is likely to win the popular vote by 9 to 11 points.”

Robert Shrum is the director of the Center for the Political Future at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The Center co-sponsors the USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll, which tracks changes in Americans’ opinions throughout the race for the White House.

Contact: or (202) 338-1812


Stressful events (including election day worries) are taking a toll on families

Election day stress relief expert Darby Saxbe is outside in front of a wall of leaves

“Many family members are spending more time together under the same roof, with fewer outlets for socializing and recreation. Stress can actually make us more reactive to each other and erode the quality of our relationships over time.”

Darby Saxbe is an associate professor of psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and director of the USC Center for the Changing Family. Her research on couples and on parents and children shows interconnected levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


Angelenos may need help finding voting centers on election day

Election Day expert Mindy Romero is in her office. “We just announced a new ballot counting tool to give election officials, voting advocates and the general public up-to-date numbers of total votes cast in Los Angeles County by mail and in person leading up to the general election.

“On Election Day, we’ll update it hourly. For elections officials, they will potentially be able to move staff around, depending on where the higher volume is, and reallocate to those areas that have not yet turned out in big numbers.”

Mindy Romero is a political sociologist and director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID) at the USC Price School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity and seeks to explain patterns of voting and political underrepresentation.

Contact: or (530) 665-3010


The role of the court in determining election outcomes

Election Day expert Franita Tolson is photographed in her office.

“One thing that we can learn from 2000 is the role of the court. It seems to me that because of 2000, partisans are rushing to the courts to have the courts resolve all of these election disputes. But it’s also true that because of 2000, I think the courts will be reluctant to resolve a dispute that is outcome determinative. It works both ways.”

Franita Tolson is vice dean for faculty and academic affairs, and a professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law. She focuses on election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. Her election podcast is Free and Fair with Franita and Foley.


Early voting sites and polling places makes voting easier

“What is troubling — even with historic turnout in many places — is how challenging it can be to vote early in many counties and states. Large counties with many people that make it hard to vote early or hard to vote in person on election day will reduce and suppress turnout. The decisions public officials make about election day and election rules can make the difference whether voters can participate easily or not.”

Christian Grose is an associate professor of political science and public policy at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and academic director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. The Institute recently allocated millions of dollars in nonpartisan grants to counties in states including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia for new early voting sites and election day polling places.



How will the movement for racial justice shape the election outcome?

“Black Lives Matter protests shifted public opinion on systemic racism and sparked calls to defund police departments, but it’s still unclear whether the racial unrest roiling the streets of America will help or hurt the presidential candidates for both parties.”

Jody Armour studies the intersection of race and legal decision making as well as torts and tort reform movements as the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at USC Gould School of Law. He’s the author of N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.



Challenges to voting include being homeless

“In a year in which every vote — and every voter — is under scrutiny, many homeless people will have a very hard time casting their ballots. States and local governments could step forward and find ways to make it easier for their homeless residents to vote, which would help fulfill the nation’s pledge that all citizens can have a say in how they are governed.”

Dora Kingsley Vertenten is a professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy and an expert in intergovernmental management, nonprofit management, social media and information technologies useful in collaborative and participatory democracy.

Contact: or (916) 802-7313


What to do if someone interferes with your vote

“If an alleged ‘poll watcher’ tries to impede someone at the voting booth, tell him or her to kindly step out of the way. Take his or her picture with a cellphone and call the FBI.”

Erroll Southers is director of the Safe Communities Institute at the USC Price School of Public Policy. Southers advises anyone whose right to cast a ballot is being blocked at a polling place to call the FBI Civil Rights Division at 202-307-2767 or toll-free at 800-253-3931.


Voting during a pandemic and more top voter issues

Additional election day experts found here.