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Advancing Electoral integrity

Advancing Electoral Integrity

Edited by Pippa Norris, Richard W. Frank and Ferran Martínez i Coma

New York: Oxford University Press, 1 May 2014. ISBN: 9780199368716 Amazon ordering link $33.95


Recent decades have seen growing concern about problems of electoral integrity. The most overt malpractices used by rulers include imprisoning dissidents, harassing adversaries, coercing voters, vote-rigging counts, and finally, if losing, blatantly disregarding the people’s choice. Serious violations of human rights, undermining electoral credibility, are widely condemned by domestic observers and the international community. Recent protests about integrity have been mobilized in countries as diverse as Russia, Mexico, and Egypt.

Elsewhere, however, minor irregularities are common, exemplified by inaccurate voter registers, maladministration of polling facilities, lack of security in absentee ballots, pro-government media bias, ballot miscounts, and gerrymandering.  Long-standing democracies are far from immune from these ills; problems are exemplified by the notorious hanging chads in Florida in 2000 and more recent accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression during the Obama-Romney contest. 

In response to these developments, there have been growing attempts to analyze flaws in electoral integrity using systematic and rigorous evidence. Several sources of cross-national time-series evidence have been developed, alongside the techniques of forensic analysis, field experiments, case-studies, and new instruments monitoring mass and elite perceptions of malpractices.

It is timely to take stock of these developments. This volume, based on a Harvard workshop 3-4th June 2013,  brings together international experts to evaluate the robustness, conceptual validity, and reliability of the growing body of evidence; to compare alternative approaches; and to apply these methods to evaluate the quality of elections in several cases, including in the United States, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.  

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List of tables and figures

Preface and acknowledgments


1. Pippa Norris Introduction: When do elections fail? Standards and evidence 

2. David Carroll and Avery Davies International obligations for democratic elections

3. Pippa Norris, Jorgen Elklit and Andrew Reynolds Developing better indicators

4. Ferran Martinez I Coma and Richard W. Frank Expert perceptions of electoral integrity

Do institutions matter?

5. Svitlana Chernykh, Zachary Elkins, James Melton and Tom Ginsburg Constitutions and election management

6. Toby James Organizational performance of Election Management Bodies in long-established democracies: the UK case

7. Antonio Ugues Jr. Election Management Bodies in newer democracies: Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala

Does lack of integrity undermine legitimacy?

8. Nicholas Kerr Public perceptions of electoral integrity in Sub-Saharan Africa

9. Robert Mattes Popular perceptions of free and fair elections in Sub-Saharan Africa

10. Mitchell Seligson and Arturo Maldonado Trust in elections in the Americas: 2004-2012

11. Thad Hall and Charles Stewart Attitudes towards election fraud in the 2012 US elections

What is to be done? Policy interventions

12. Ursula Daxecker and Gerald Schneider Electoral observation

13. Alistair Clark Investing in electoral integrity

14. Roundtable: Lessons from the ground: What have we learnt? What do we do next?


15. Pippa Norris. Conclusions

Technical Appendix A: PEI Indicators in standardized tables


Select bibliography



"The strength of this volume is its inclusion of both practitioners and scholars and its connection to the Electoral Integrity Index, a real world effort to improve how we think about and assess election quality and - ultimately - political legitimacy. It provides an invaluable set of perspectives for students, scholars and policy makers alike who want to think about what can be done to improve elections around the world." --Judith G. Kelley, Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University 

"With the expansion of democracy around the world, the quality and fairness of elections has come under intense scrutiny. This timely volume brings together an impressive list of international experts on electoral integrity. The results will be of interest to scholars concerned about the conduct and management of elections around the world." --Ian McAllister, Professor of Political Science, Australian National University 

"Advancing Electoral Integrity combines real-world and scholarly expertise to advance debates on the quality of elections, democracy, and how we can reform existing institutions to improve electoral integrity around the world." --Susan Hyde, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Yale University 

"Advancing Electoral Integrity makes a vital contribution to the study of election quality. The volume provides an impressive tour d'horizon of this exciting new subfield, drawing together work by a variety of scholars working in different subfields as well as practitioners from outside academia. It is a must-read book for all who seek to have a full understanding of how elections work in the contemporary world." --Sarah Birch, Chair of Comparative Politics, University of Glasgow

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