Dr. Michael P. McDonald is Associate Professor of Government and Politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of California, San Diego and B.S. in Economics from California Institute of Technology. He held a one-year post-doc fellowship at Harvard University and has previously taught at Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois, Springfield.
His research interests include voting behavior, redistricting, Congress, American political development, and political methodology. His voter turnout research shows that turnout is not declining, the ineligible population is rising. He is currently working on developing open-source redistricting software that is accessible through a web browser. He is co-author with Micah Altman and Jeff Gill of Numerical Issues in Statistical Computing for the Social Scientist and is co-editor with John Samples of The Marketplace of Democracy: Electoral Competition and American Politics. His research appears in several edited volumes and in scholarly journals including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, PS: Political Science and Politics, Social Science Computing Review, Journal of Statistical Software, The Election Law Journal, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and Georgetown Law Review.
On the practical side of politics, Dr. McDonald has worked for the national exit poll organization, consulted to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, consulted to the Pew Center for the States, served on campaign staff for state legislative campaigns in California and Virginia, and has worked for national polling firms. He has been an expert witness for election lawsuits in Florida and Washington, and has worked as a redistricting consultant or expert witness in Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, and New York. He has provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Illinois Senate Redistricting Committee.
He is frequently quoted in the media regarding United States elections. He consulted to ABC and NBC. He has conducted live interviews across the political spectrum, from the Rachel Maddow Show and MSNBC to Fox News, with stops in-between at PBS, NPR, and numerous international media outlets. He was quoted in two different stories on the front page of USA Today on the Tuesday of the 2008 presidential election. His opinion editorials have appeared in The Washington Post, The Politico, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, The American Prospect, and Roll Call.
He donates his time to many non-profit organizations. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Overseas Vote Foundation and the Non-Profit Voter Engagement Network. He has formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Public Access Project and was a member of the Fairfax County School Board Adult and Community Education Advisory Committee. He has spoken to several organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the NAACP, The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and The Midwest Democracy Network.