In countries around the world, there have been major problems in the management of elections. Examples of failures of electoral management include:
- In the 2010 UK general election, there were queues at polling stations leaving citizens unable to vote.
- 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
The study of electoral management has long been overlooked, but as it is defined here:
Electoral Management Research Network
I am currently co-directing a research network of leading scholars who are working on electoral management. You can find out more on the electoralmanagement.com website that we run. We have recently held workshops with practitioners and researcher from around the world in Oslo and Boston.
New Book Comparative Electoral Management
My new book on Comparative Electoral Management was recently published. Find out more information here.
Policy Impact on Electoral Electoral Management
Researchers have a duty, I think, to try to encourage policy makers to use their research to improve how elections are run. You can find out more about the policy impact that the research has had in this video, filmed by the ESRC, as part of their impact awards series:
Recent research findings
A variety of research projects have focused on:
- Surveying Electoral Management Bodies worldwide. This is a collaborative project with some excellent international colleagues – research findings will follow.
- Funding electoral services. In a recent publication we set out how public sector austerity can affect the management of elections.
- New challenges in electoral management. The twenty-first century has brought about many new challenges to emerge in many established democracies that make running elections more difficult for electoral administrators (see: this paper).
- The impact of performance standards. Introducing performance standards can improve the quality of electoral management (see: this paper)
- Centralising electoral management. Greater central control electoral management can lead to some unforeseen negative consequences (and yet also some positive ones) (see: this paper).
- Individual electoral registration. Implementing major changes, such as those to voter registration, can lead to many unintended consequences on other aspects of electoral management (see: this paper).
- UK Poll Worker Survey 2015. With Dr. Alistair Clark (University of Newcastle) which will involve the first ever survey of poll workers in the UK. This is funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.
- The quality of electoral management at the UK Brexit referendum. In a recent report funded by the Electoral Commission, Alistair Clark and I assess the UK’s electoral machinery.
Key Publications on Electoral Management:
- (2020), Comparative Electoral Management: Performance, Networks and Instruments (Routledge: London and New York).
- (2020, forthcoming) ‘Delivering Electoral Integrity Under Pressure: Local Government, Electoral Administration and the 2016 EU Referendum in the UK’, Local Government Studies.
- (2020, forthcoming) ‘Electoral integrity, voter fraud and voter ID in polling stations: lessons from English local elections‘, Policy Studies, with Alistair Clark, download pre-print.
- (2019) ‘Better Workers, Better Elections? Electoral Management Body Workforces Worldwide and Electoral Integrity‘, International Political Science Review, 40 (3) 370-390.
- (2019) ‘Electoral Management and the Organisational Determinants of Electoral Integrity‘, International Political Science Review, with Holly Ann Garnett, Leontine Loeber and Carolien van Ham, 40 (3) 295-312.
- (2018) ‘Political Leadership as Statecraft? Aligning Theory with Praxis in Conversation with British Party Leaders’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 20(3), pp. 555–572.
- (2017) ‘The cost of elections: The effects of public sector austerity on electoral integrity and voter engagement,’ Public Money and Management, volume 37(7) (pdf).
- (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
- (2017) The Cost of Elections: Funding Electoral Services in England and Wales, ClearView Research: London, with Tyrone Jervier, June 2017.
- (2016) ‘An Evaluation of Electoral Administration at the EU Referendum,’ Electoral Commission, September 2016, with Alistair Clark.
- (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
- (2017) ‘Why isn’t the electoral registration process fully online?’, Open Democracy, 29th March 2017, with Caroline Lucas MP.
- (2017) ‘Now they’re on a roll: how to get the missing millions onto the electoral register,’Democratic Audit, 8th March 2017, with Josh Dell and Lord Chris Rennard.
- (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