Elections and electoral systems

Has the gender gap in voter turnout really disappeared?

Has the gender gap in voter turnout really disappeared?

While the gender gap in electoral representation is widely acknowledged, it is often assumed that there is no equivalent underrepresentation of women in voter turnout. However, Filip Kostelka, André Blais and Elisabeth Gidengil find that, while women vote in equal numbers in first-order national elections, less high-profile local and supranational elections still see a disparity in turnout between men and women, which has implications for equal participation.

What party competition in England will look like after European Parliament elections end

What party competition in England will look like after European Parliament elections end

European Parliament elections may not have been popular, but they used proportional representation – something which England’s national elections lack. Heinz Brandenburg looks at what this means for smaller parties, which have a hard time making headway under the first-past-the-post system.

 ‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

 ‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

A Private Member’s Bill to extend the franchise to all British citizens living abroad is currently under consideration in Parliament. Susan Collard explains how these proposed reforms, which have significant implications for democratic participation, have become caught up in parliamentary procedure and partisan disputes.

The Great Brexit Crisis: we are in for an unprecedented shake up of the UK constitution, laws, conventions and politics

The Great Brexit Crisis: we are in for an unprecedented shake up of the UK constitution, laws, conventions and politics

The UK seems to be rapidly heading for one of the most tangled and tumultuous political periods in modern history as Brexit nears its apogee, writes Colin Talbot. Whether you think we’re headed to Valhalla or Ragnarok, the constitution, law, conventions and politics are all set to be tested in ways rarely seen. In this blog, he presents a quick guide to some of the institutions that will be severely tested over the next days and weeks.

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

Even though it looks increasingly likely the Brexit deal will not survive its first hurdle in parliament, there is yet more evidence in its pages that Brexit has saved the Human Rights Act and secured Britain’s long term future as party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), writes Frederick Cowell. In the Political Declaration on the Framework of Future relations with the EU, the document accompanying the withdrawal agreement, under the heading ‘core values and rights there is a commitment to ‘respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights’. In the text of the withdrawal agreement itself – which would be a legally binding on the government – there are provisions in the Protocols on Northern Ireland, which seem to assume the UK remains a party to the ECHR.

The UK is heading towards a constitutional crisis over Brexit

The UK is heading towards a constitutional crisis over Brexit

As the clock runs down on Article 50, a political crisis is looking increasingly likely. However, Iain Begg argues that this could become a more damaging constitutional crisis if Parliament is unable to settle how Brexit proceeds.

‘How We Vote’: British Columbia faces a complex choice about its electoral system

‘How We Vote’: British Columbia faces a complex choice about its electoral system

British Columbia’s voters face their third referendum on reforming the province’s electoral system. Christopher Stafford looks at the choices they face, and notes that the participation (or not) of undecided voters will be key to the result of this postal-vote referendum.

Do party leaflets and canvass visits increase voter turnout?

Do party leaflets and canvass visits increase voter turnout?

Experiments in the US consistently find that Get Out The Vote campaigns boost participation at election time. Is the same true for Britain? Using a field experiment carried out in cooperation with the Liberal Democrats in May 2017, Joshua Townsley finds that leaflets and canvass visits did boost turnout, but that postal voters were unaffected by campaign contact.

Patriotism, pessimism and politicians: understanding the vote to Leave

Patriotism, pessimism and politicians: understanding the vote to Leave

Ben Worthy reflects on the numerous overlapping reasons for the Brexit vote, the parallels with previous elections, and why a second vote risks exacerbating the anti-elite sentiments that underpinned it.

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Proposals from backbench Brexiteer MPs as to how to resolve the border question in Northern Ireland fail to address the problem of maintaining a common set of standards with Ireland post-Brexit. Sean Swan argues that, given public opinion in England, a customs border in the Irish Sea, with divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a likely outcome.