Professional Education Core Courses
Core Course Descriptions
To download a pdf version or to view offline a detailed descriptions of courses you may refer to the PEP Manual or the Core Course Description pdf.
Visit the Renewal Courses pages for detailed descriptions of courses needed to obtain or renew CERA status.
Please visit the Events Calender page to see what courses are coming up next.
Required to Gain CERA Status
- Introduction to Analysis of Election Systems to Improve Performance
- Management & Leadership Concepts in Election and Voter Registration Administration
- Planning and Budgeting for Elections and Voter Registration
- Election Information Access & Security
- Ethics in Election and Voter Registration Administration
- Communications in Election and Voter Registration Administration
- Facilitating Voter Participation
- Implementation of New Programs in Voter Registration and Elections Administration
- Enfranchisement, Enhancement & Enforcement - Modern Federal Election Law & Regulation: 1965 to Present
- Constitutions, Courts & Cases to 1965 - Early America to 1965 with Focus on State and US Constitutions
- History I - Ancients to 1781
- History II - 1781 to Modern Era
Although United States election and registration laws vary from state to state, all elections in this country require certain basic functions, often involving multiple procedures performed by different agents, such as private vendors or departments of motor vehicles. This course takes a systems approach, breaking the electoral process down into sub-systems and showing how to diagram, analyze and benchmark them. Studying these functions allows us to improve administrative systems within jurisdictions and to compare procedures across jurisdictions.
While the United States is becoming increasingly aware of the role that election and voter registration administration plays in a democratic society, there is still a lack of discussion about management and Leadership concepts that are specific to the profession. Working to understand and develop these concepts will enable election and voter registration administrators to become more specialized in their field. This course examines the core role and functions of election administration with a focus on how to enhance citizen services; recruit, motivate, and assess office staff; and manage office time and resources effectively and efficiently.
This course covers strategic management and budgeting. The learning objective is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills required for effective strategic planning and the various budgeting techniques seen in practice. This course links the skills and knowledge of effective planning and budgeting techniques to total quality improvement for elections and voter registration.
Effective use of modern technology has become a vital part of election and voter registration administration. Automation can greatly improve productivity and efficiency but needs and solutions must be properly evaluated if expensive and potentially catastrophic problems are to be avoided. This course will focus on types of technology available and will expose participants to types of uses for the technologies. Technology will be examined for the ways it can be used to more effectively serve both the external publics as well as the internal needs of our employees and other governmental offices. One principle focus, however, will be to look at how technology changes the nature of the way tasks are accomplished and how to manage those tasks in a changed environment
As with all professionals, election administrators and election officials may not fully understand or appreciate their duties and obligations without also understanding the disciplinary rules and ethical mandates governing their professional activities. Yet professional codes of ethics may have the complexion of arbitrary prescriptions and proscriptions unless those parameters are founded upon well-reasoned and generally accepted ethical precepts. This course will be concerned with identifying and explaining those precepts and with connecting those precepts to the Principles and Standards of Conduct for Elections and Registration Officials.
Effective communication with the media, state legislatures, and local boards and other entities involved with elections and voter registration is critical to maintaining budget and public support for the electoral process and for effective voter outreach and other public relations purposes. This course discusses effective communication with the media, state legislatures, local boards, and other entities involved with elections or voter registration which is critical to maintaining budget and public support for the electoral process and for effective voter outreach and other public relations purposes. This course will provide the skills and principles important to effective representation of elections/registration departments and offices.
In the United States, participation in elections is essential to the proper functioning of the democratic process. This course discusses who votes, who doesn't, and why. It enables officials to measure participation and why it is important to the democratic process. It also gives suggestions on how administrators might motivate citizens in their area to register and vote.
Knowing what needs to be done is only the beginning. Implementation is a system of organizational structures, processes, and routines that put an idea into action. Without implementation, no real change occurs. Unless implementation is successful, the good idea quickly takes a turn for the worse. This course works with actions taken to carry out policies related to election administration and voter registration such as a new one-time project, a new continuous program, or a change to an existing program.
Beginning with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 we will explore modern federal election law including the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA), National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act (MOVE). This course will focus on how these federal laws impact your election processes and how they affect the voters and their ability to access and participate in the voting process.
Although there are a number of different ways to politically participate, most Americans do so by voting. Questions of voter eligibility and ballot access have thus stirred controversy almost from the earliest days of our republic. Where states endeavored to restrict voting rights, Congress and the Supreme Court have generally attempted to expand the voting privileges. This course focuses on the law that has emerged from both judicial and legislative efforts to expand the voting privilege. It provides the larger legal framework within which election administrators carry out their responsibilities.
The best way to understand American democracy is to understand the events that led to its creation. That process begins, in this course, with a survey of the original Greek democracy of 27 centuries ago. Historical evidence from that era and the Roman republic that followed suggests that our democratic ancestors had similar concerns as present day election administrators about election procedure, voter eligibility, potential fraud, and promulgation of election results. The desire of citizens to participate in the governing processes of their day can be seen in the Scandinavian "ting" before the end of the first millennium, the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages, and the emergence of Parliament in Great Britain and leading up to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.
This course covers the history of elections and voter registration from the constitution until the Civil Rights era. Understanding developments of the past which have led to the present can help elections and registration professionals interpret both the intent and the influence of laws and procedures on voter registration. By understanding the reasons for the decisions which impacted both voter registration and elections administration, we can more clearly understand why we administer the process the way we do in the present. It also provides a better basis for anticipating changes for the future and can help to predict the outcome of changes to the system as they are proposed.