The UK’s Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit

Are UK elections conducted with integrity, with sufficient turnout?

Are UK elections conducted with integrity, with sufficient turnout?

Across the world, there are many countries where elections take place but are rigged by governments or unfairly conducted. And even in core liberal democracies (like the United States) political parties have now become deeply involved in gerrymandering constituencies and partisan efforts at ‘voter suppression’. As part of our 2018 Democratic Audit, Toby S James looks at how well elections are run in the UK, and whether the systems for registering voters and encouraging turnout are operating effectively and fairly.

How democratic is the UK’s proportional electoral system: the single transferable vote (STV)?

How democratic is the UK’s proportional electoral system: the single transferable vote (STV)?

Patrick Dunleavy examines the proportional (PR) electoral system now used for smaller UK elections: the Northern Ireland Assembly, and Scottish and Northern Irish local councils. How has STV fared in converting votes into seats and fostering political legitimacy, under British political conditions? An Annex also discusses the list PR system used to elect European Parliament MEPs from 1999 to 2014, but now discontinued as a result of Brexit.

How democratic are the reformed electoral systems used in Britain’s devolved governments and English mayoral elections?

How democratic are the reformed electoral systems used in Britain’s devolved governments and English mayoral elections?

As part of our 2018 Audit of UK Democracy, Patrick Dunleavy and the Democratic Audit team examine how well citizens are represented by the two main reformed electoral systems used in the UK – the ‘additional members system’ (AMS) and the ‘supplementary vote’ (SV). How successful have they been in showing the way for more modern electoral systems to work well under British political conditions?

How democratic is the Westminster ‘plurality rule’ electoral system?

How democratic is the Westminster ‘plurality rule’ electoral system?

In the first part of our 2018 Audit of UK Democracy, Patrick Dunleavy examines a topic of foundational importance for any liberal democracy – how well does the electoral system (in this case the Westminster plurality rule, aka ‘first-past-the-post’) convert votes into seats? A sudden growth in two-party support in 2017 allowed the UK’s ancient voting system to work far more proportionately. But is this outcome a one-off blip, or the start of a new long-term trend?