- In the 2010 UK general election, there were queues at polling stations leaving citizens unable to vote (see the video below)
- In the 2011 Canadian federal election it has been estimated that there were 500 serious administrative errors in each Canadian riding
- In the 2013 Kenyan election there were problems with the voting machinery causing a delayed count
Fixing UK Failures of Electoral Management
I am currently working on a project which identifies why problems occur in electoral management and what can be done to fix them.
This project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the McDougall Trust. It involves interviewing officials who manage elections to understand how the introduction of performance standards effects the functioning of elections.
- New challenges have emerged in many established democracies that make running elections more difficult for electoral administrators (see: this paper).
- Introducing performance standards can improve the quality of electoral management (see: this paper).
- However, centralising electoral management can lead to some unforeseen negative consequences (see: this paper).
- Implementing major changes, such as those to voter registration, can lead to many unintended consequences on other aspects of electoral management (see: this paper).
More findings and publications will follow.
UK Poll Worker Survey 2015
I am also currently involved with a research project with Dr. Alistair Clark (University of Newcastle) which will involve the first ever survey of poll workers in the UK. The findings will be made available here, later in 2015. This is funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.
Key Publications on Electoral Management:
- (2016) ‘Why volunteer? The motivations of polling station workers on election day’ Paper for the Political Studies Association Conference, March 2016, with Alistair Clark
- (2015) ‘Using Performance Benchmark Standards to improve Electoral Management‘, in ACE Case Studies, Stockholm: International Idea.
- (2015) ‘Assessing the independence of electoral management boards: A policy network approach’,Paper for the American Political Science Conference, San Francisco, August/September 2015. Also presented at a Irish Research Council Workshop, Cork, October 2015.
- (2015) ‘The Unsung Heroes of Electoral Democracy: Poll Workers and Electoral Integrity in Britain‘, Paper for the Pre-APSA Workshop on Electoral Integrity, San Francisco, September 2015, with Alistair Clark.
- (2014) ‘The Spill-over and Displacement Effects of Implementing Election Administration Reforms: Introducing Individual Electoral Registration in Britain’, Parliamentary Affairs, first published online 25 June 2012.
- (2014) ‘Electoral Management in Britain’ in Pippa Norris, Richard Frank and Ferran Matinez I Coma (eds) Advancing Electoral Integrity (New York: Oxford University Press).
- (2013) ‘Fixing U.K. Failures of Electoral Management’, Electoral Studies, 32(4), December 2013, p. 597–608.
- (2013) ‘Centralising Electoral Management: Lessons from the U.K.’ Pre-APSA Workshop on Electoral Integrity, Chicago, 28th August 2013.
Recent Consultancy / Policy Reports / Evidence
- (2016) ‘Getting the missing millions back on the electoral register,’the All Party Parliamentary Group on Voter Registration, April 2016, with Bite the Ballot.
- (2014) ‘Voter Engagement in the UK – second submission‘, Evidence to the The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, House of Commons, 27 August 2014.
- (2014) ‘Voter Engagement in the U.K.‘, Oral Evidence to the The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, House of Commons, 3 April 2014.
- (2014) ‘Voter Engagement in the U.K.‘, Evidence to the The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, House of Commons, 23 February 2014.
Recent Blog posts
- (2016) ‘Let’s stop the last minute registration rush: It’s time for a complete and inclusive electoral register for Britain,’ Democratic Audit, 3rd June 2016, with Chris Rennard and Oliver Sidorczuk.
- (2015), ‘The UK’s electoral infrastructure is functional due to the efforts of many individuals, but it cannot be taken for granted,’ Democratic Audit, 29th September 2015, with Alistair Clark.
- (2014) ‘Electoral management issues were the dog that didn’t bark in the Scottish night‘, Democratic Audit, 19th September 2014.
- (2014) ‘Postal voting and electoral fraud: a reply to Richard Mawrey QC’, Democratic Audit, 12 March 2014.
- (2014) ‘Same-day electoral registration would increase voter engagement and improve British democracy’, Democratic Audit, 3 March 2014.
- (2014) ‘Voter ID in Britain? A note of caution from academic research’, Left Foot Forward, 8 January 2014, (cited in the Daily Mail)
- (2013) ‘Fixing elections: What the U.S. can learn from Britain’, Washington Post/ Monkey cage, 5 November 2013
- (2013) ‘Electoral Registration Changes Hit a Set-Back: A New Way Forward’, Huffington Post, 22 July 2013
- (2013) ‘Individual electoral registration still needs a lot of work, if it is not to be a car crash for British democracy’, Democratic Audit, 15th July 2013