Elections and electoral systems

Brexit and devolution in England: what’s at stake

Brexit and devolution in England: what’s at stake

The debate on Brexit has spurred discussion about how the UK’s exit from the EU could affect the devolved nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). But, writes Arianna Giovannini, the impact on England is also important to address, as the lack of a coherent devolution policy means that Brexit could have profound institutional, economic and political effects on the largest nation of the UK.

How turnout, majority size, and outcome affect whether citizens think the result of an EU referendum should be implemented

How turnout, majority size, and outcome affect whether citizens think the result of an EU referendum should be implemented

There is an ongoing debate in the UK over whether holding another referendum on EU membership would be democratic or not. Drawing on a new study, Sveinung Arnesen explains that while in general most citizens believe governments should follow the results of referendums on EU membership, this depends heavily upon the level of turnout, the size of the majority, and the outcome of the specific referendum in question.

Detecting election fraud: is it possible to identify manipulated vote counts?

Detecting election fraud: is it possible to identify manipulated vote counts?

In the quest to tackle electoral malpractice, election observers and political scientists have sought ways to identify when vote counts have been manipulated. One proposed method is to analyse non-random patterns in the last digits of vote counts. Verena Mack and Lukas F. Stoetzer tested this technique and found that it cannot reliably identify fraud, but that such experiments are a useful way to build up a set of potential identifiers of vote manipulation.

Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Does the ownership of economic assets matter for how people vote? Drawing on new research, Timothy Hellwig and Ian McAllister find the answer is yes. They argue that by changing their policy positions, parties can shape the influence of asset ownership on voter decisions, if there is sufficient party polarisation.

The UK needs a new electoral system not a new political party

The UK needs a new electoral system not a new political party

The new Independent Group of former Labour and Conservative MPs says it wishes to fix the UK’s broken politics. However, argues Jack Bridgewater, the first step in fixing politics at the centre is to reform the electoral system.

Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Political polling has faced difficulties during recent UK elections. Drawing on methods used for US elections and elsewhere, Philippe Mongrain therefore proposes a new forecasting model, which takes into account the state of the economy, the cost of ruling for the incumbent party, leadership approval ratings and previous election results, and offers some improvements on existing polls for forecasting the vote share of all contending parties.

Self-regulation is not enough: The law on micro-targeted online political campaigns and big data needs reform

Self-regulation is not enough: The law on micro-targeted online political campaigns and big data needs reform

Election campaigning has changed radically with the growth of data-driven social media campaigns – most notably during the EU referendum campaign. The UK’s election law has not kept up. As part of a new report by the Electoral Reform Society, Bethany Shiner considers proposals for changes to the law to cover both the content of these campaigns and the methods of communication, and concludes that the enforcement of regulations for online political campaigns cannot be left to technology companies like Facebook.

Why it is essential we design the right digital democracy tools to suit local conditions

Why it is essential we design the right digital democracy tools to suit local conditions

Online tools that improve citizens’ access to information about their political system and enable greater democratic participation have become central to the political landscape in many democratic countries. A new report examines how such tools have worked in Sub-Saharan Africa, and finds that they can be effective, as long as initiatives are designed for each country’s circumstances, writes Rebecca Rumbul.

Party preferences and prior expectations moderate voters’ perceptions of winning and losing an election

Party preferences and prior expectations moderate voters’ perceptions of winning and losing an election

What is the relationship between who you vote for in an election and satisfaction with the outcome? Looking at evidence from four countries, which span both majoritarian and proportional systems, Carolina Plescia finds that, beyond objective measures of party outcome, public opinion on which party has won or lost is affected by a party’s change in vote share, voters’ expectations, existing party preferences and the electoral system under which it is contested.