Elections and electoral systems

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Populist parties across Europe often support direct democracy, for example through frequent referendums. Do their voters support these initiatives too and why? Tina Freyburg, Robert Huber and Steffen Mohrenberg distinguish between citizens who support direct democracy as a way of giving power to ‘the people’ and those, known as stealth democrats, who do so out of a scepticism that politicians can be effective. They find that both sets of attitudes independently are associated with support for direct democracy, and argue that the distinction is crucial to furthering the debate about populism in Europe.

How increasing civic participation reshaped the democratic space during Congo’s 2018 elections

How increasing civic participation reshaped the democratic space during Congo’s 2018 elections

The long-delayed elections in Congo at the end of 2018 brought to an end the presidency of Joseph Kabila after 18 years, though there was evidence of widespread electoral irregularities and fraud. However, Koen Vlassenroot, Godefroid Muzalia, Emery Mudinga and Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka found that there were positive signs of growing civic engagement and democratic participation during these elections, despite ongoing problems with the militarisation of Congolese politics.

Five things we have learnt about England’s voter ID trials in May’s local elections

Five things we have learnt about England’s voter ID trials in May’s local elections

The Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission have published their evaluations of the voter ID trials that were held during this May’s local elections. Michela Palese assesses what we have learnt from them, and what concerns remain.

Do early elections provide a financial advantage for parties in power?

Do early elections provide a financial advantage for parties in power?

If parties in power have the discretion to call an election when they wish, rather than being restricted to fixed electoral terms, do they have an advantage in terms of raising campaign funds? Looking at the case of Denmark, Lasse Aaskoven finds that they do, which could have implications for the UK, and its rules about electoral terms.

The US Supreme Court has decided partisan gerrymandering is outside its remit. A democratic restoration now depends on the people alone.

The US Supreme Court has decided partisan gerrymandering is outside its remit. A democratic restoration now depends on the people alone.

The United States Supreme Court has determined that reviewing partisan gerrymandering cases was outside the remit of federal courts. Alex Keena, Michael Latner, Anthony J. McGann and Charles Anthony Smith argue that in failing to recognise the vote dilution caused by the redrawing of a state’s electoral district boundaries to the party in power’s advantage, as well as connecting the majority rule standard to the 14th Amendment, the decision removes Americans’ fundamental right to participate equally in the political process.

Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Timothy Peace and Parveen Akhtar discuss the allegations of electoral malpractice in the recent Peterborough by-election in which Labour won by 683 votes. While an initial police inquiry found that no offences were revealed, they explain why certain areas are more susceptible to such claims than others.

Academics and experts make the case for modernising Britain’s antiquated election rules

Academics and experts make the case for modernising Britain’s antiquated election rules

The House of Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee has been gathering evidence on the rules governing the UK’s elections. Michela Palese from the Electoral Reform Society summarises key areas in need of reform.

The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

Some politicians and political scientists have suggested that a citizens’ assembly would be the best way to build public consent for any Brexit solution. For this to work, argues Conor Farrington, any initiative would need to innovate to engage the public, and in this it could learn from mass television entertainment.

Who runs elections and how can they be improved? Independence, resources and workforce conditions are essential for good election management

Who runs elections and how can they be improved? Independence, resources and workforce conditions are essential for good election management

In new research published today about how elections are run around the world, Toby S. James, Leontine Loeber, Holly Ann Garnett and Carolien van Ham find that organisational independence matters for well-run elections, and that election management could be improved with more resources, improved working conditions for election employees – and a better gender balance in electoral management bodies.

Brexit has shown the limits of Britain’s broken ‘Westminster model’ of politics

Brexit has shown the limits of Britain’s broken ‘Westminster model’ of politics

The results of the recent European Parliament elections demonstrate how the traditional model of UK politics based on two ‘main’ parties is fracturing under the pressures of the Brexit process. Jess Garland sets out some proposals for reforming the system in line with voters’ wishes for a more cooperative style of politics.