Charles Stewart

Prof. Charles Stewart, III

Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT, where he has taught since 1985, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research and teaching areas include congressional politics, elections, and American political development.

His current research about Congress touches on the historical development of committees, origins of partisan polarization, and Senate elections. His recent books of congressional research include Electing the Senate (2014, with Wendy J. Schiller), Fighting for the Speakership (2012, with Jeffery A. Jenkins), and Analyzing Congress (2nd ed., 2011).

Since 2001, Professor Stewart has been a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, a leading research effort that applies scientific analysis to questions about election technology, election administration, and election reform. He is currently the MIT director of the project. Professor Stewart is an established leader in the analysis of the performance of election systems and the quantitative assessment of election performance. Working with the Pew Charitable Trusts, he helped with the development of Pew’s Elections Performance Index. Professor Stewart also provided advice to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. His research on measuring the performance of elections and polling place operations is funded by Pew, the Democracy Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation. He recently published The Measure of American Elections (2014, with Barry C. Burden).

With the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Joyce Foundation, in 2017 Professor Stewart established the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, which applies scientific principles to how elections are studied and administered. In 2020, he partnered with Professor Nate Persily of the Stanford Law School to establish the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project.

Professor Stewart has been recognized at MIT for his undergraduate teaching, being named to the second class of MacVicar Fellows in 1994, awarded the Baker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the recipient of the Class of 1960 Fellowship. From 1992 to 2015, he served as Head of House of McCormick Hall, along with his spouse, Kathryn M. Hess.