Improving voting and elections

‘Use it or lose it?’ Why the ability to vote shouldn’t depend on actually doing so

‘Use it or lose it?’ Why the ability to vote shouldn’t depend on actually doing so

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Ohio’s controversial plans to remove habitual non-voters from the electoral register is constitutional. Christopher Stafford argues that such a measure has serious consequences for encouraging democratic participation – and there are better ways of ensuring the accuracy of the electoral register.

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

Never before has the British political tradition been more contested, write Matthew Hall, David Marsh and Emma Vines. They explain that British democracy is facing three major challenges – Scottish independence, Brexit, and anti-politics – and these have the potential to force change on an otherwise stale political establishment.

Electoral observation missions promote competitive elections in autocracies

Electoral observation missions promote competitive elections in autocracies

As elections have become more frequent across all regimes, Electoral Observation Missions (EOM) have increased their presence around their world. However, it has not always been clear whether EOM have an impact, and what exactly that is. Nasos Roussias and Rubén Ruiz-Rufino addressed this issue, examining elections from more than 100 countries around the world between 1976 and 2009. They show that EOM presence results in improvements of the competitiveness of elections, but only in autocracies, where they reduce margins of victory for incumbents and increase the likelihood that the opposition will take over, whereas they have no traceable impact in democracies.

Why the Grieve amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill is not unconstitutional

Why the Grieve amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill is not unconstitutional

On Wednesday, 20 June, the House of Commons will consider again amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill intended to give Parliament a meaningful vote on the Brexit negotiations, particularly in the case of no deal being agreed. Ben Margulies considers the constitutional implications of these highly contentious proposals.

Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is popular in the US right now. But we have been here before.

Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is popular in the US right now. But we have been here before.

Voters in the Pine Tree State have chosen to continue using ranked-choice voting in state-wide elections. Jack Santucci explains that ranked-choice voting is likely to be adopted in polarised political environments, creating majorities where there currently are none, and as a reaction to unpopular politicians who have won without majorities of votes. He reminds us that the current era of polarisation is similar to that of one hundred years ago, the last time ranked-choice voting was in fashion.

Why don’t immigrants vote more?

Why don’t immigrants vote more?

There are relatively few cases where non-citizen immigrants can vote in municipal elections, but where they can participation tends to be low. Didier Ruedin assesses the case of Geneva, where he finds that, even accounting for social origin, engagement, civic integration and socialisation, there is a gap in participation that needs further explanation.

General election polling goes geographical: the accuracy and value of constituency-level estimates

General election polling goes geographical: the accuracy and value of constituency-level estimates

The 2017 general election saw a largely unremarked geographical extension to opinion polling, with three analysts publishing estimates of which party was likely to win in each of the country’s constituencies. Ron Johnston, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley, Charles Pattie, Todd Hartman, and David Rossiter have analysed their accuracy and considered the implications of that development for the conduct of future elections.

Book Review | Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

Book Review | Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

In Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, editors Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger bring together contributors to consider the possible implications of Brexit for the futures of Europe and the European Union. Available to download, the book’s interdisciplinary approach makes clear the difficulties of predicting the potential outcomes of an unfolding process while nonetheless outlining a number of different scenarios and possibilities in detail, writes Anna Nadibaidze.

The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

Alistair Clark and Lynn Bennie assess the roles of national party manifestos across Britain, Scotland and Wales in UK-wide general elections, and illustrate the multiple functions these documents perform in complex multilevel systems of government.

The Scottish Parliament has rejected the Brexit bill – are we heading for a second independence referendum?

The Scottish Parliament has rejected the Brexit bill – are we heading for a second independence referendum?

The Scottish Parliament has denied consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill. Akash Paun argues that the Prime Minister now faces an unpalatable choice: concede defeat or help the SNP make the case for a second independence referendum.