In elections it’s not just how votes are counted that matters

The first annual report of the highly influential Electoral Integrity Project has just been published (see here). Professor Pippa Norris and her colleagues have carried out an extensive survey of the electoral process across the world’s democracies over the past few years. Ireland’s last election (2011) preceded this project so it was not included on this occasion, but as the work of this project continues, our next election will come under scrutiny.

And it needs to. For one of the main findings of this research is that what really matter in determining how a country is graded in terms of ‘electoral integrity’ is how its elections are administered: the agencies involved, steps taken to ensure that citizens are registered, the transparency of party and campaign finance – all issues that remain matters of concern in this country despite the supposed ‘democratic revolution’ that this government promised but has yet to deliver.

The report of The Electoral Integrity Project ranks the US as 26th in the world’s democracies (of those ranked in this report). As the author notes:

“Further analysis of the data showed that experts reduced the overall score for the United States due to concern about the quality of their electoral laws, voter registration, the process of drawing district boundaries, as well as regulation of campaign finance.”

How would they rate Ireland today?

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