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    SPR: Malaysia, world champion in District Boundaries Practice (from the bottom)

    The Year in Elections, 2014

    Afghanistan, Syria and Bahrain the worst elections in 2014




    The Year in Elections, 2014 YouTube Video





    1.The risks of failed elections

    In many countries, polling day ends with disputes about ballot-box fraud, corruption, and flawed registers. Which claims are accurate? And which are false complaints from sore losers?

    New evidence gathered by the Electoral Integrity Project has just been released in an annual report which compares the risks of flawed and failed elections, and how far countries around the world meet international standards. The EIP is an independent research project based at the University of Sydney and Harvard University, under the direction of Professor Pippa Norris.

    The report evaluates the integrity of all 127 national parliamentary and presidential contests held between 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2014 in 107 countries worldwide, ranging from Sweden and the United States to Mozambique and Syria.

    The EIP report identifies several key findings:
    • During 2014, the five worst elections were in Egypt, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Syrian and Bahrain, all of which failed to meet international standards.


    • The five best elections in 2014 were in Lithuania, Costa Rica, Sweden, Slovenia and Uruguay.


    • Elections in the United States scored lowest among all Western nations. Experts were concerned about American electoral laws and voter registration procedures, both areas of heated partisan debate.


    • Overall electoral integrity is strengthened by democracy, development, and power-sharing constitutions. Longer experience over successive contests consolidates democratic practices, deepens civic cultures, and builds the capacity of professional electoral management bodies. Development provides resources for electoral administration. Power-sharing institutions, such as the free press and independent parliaments, curb malpractices.


    • The greatest risks of failed elections are in Africa and the Middle East but there are clear exceptions within these regions, notably the successful Tunisian presidential and legislative elections, and fairly well-rated contests in Mauritius andSouth Africa.


    • The most serious risks arise during the campaign from disparities in political finance and media coverage, assessed as more common problems than malpractices occurring on election-day or its aftermath.


    by United Nations Photo


    2. Evidence

    Evidence gathered by the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) uses a rolling expert survey to compare how far contests around the world meet international standards. The EIP is an independent research project based at the University of Sydney and Harvard University, under the direction of Professor Pippa Norris.


    The 2014 report covers all national parliamentary and presidential contests in 107 countries worldwide holding 127 election from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2014 (excluding smaller states with a population below 100,000). Evidence scomes from a global survey of 1,429 domestic and international election experts. All continents, types of regimes, and world regions are represented. Immediately after each contest, the survey asks experts to monitor the quality based on 49 indicators. These responses are then clustered into eleven stages occurring during the electoral cycle and summed to construct an overall 100-point expert Perception of Electoral Integrity (PEI) index and ranking.


    3. World rankings


    The following global rankings show how elections compared worldwide In the overall PEI Index as well as its 11 components.

    Long-standing democracies such as Norway, Germany and the Netherlands were among the highest in electoral integrity, but several newer democracies also ranked highly, including Lithuania, Costa Rica, and Slovenia. By contrast, contests during 2014 in Afghanistan, Syria and Bahrain were among the worst rated by experts.







    4.The world map of electoral integrity
    Mouse over countries on the map for more details of each election.





    Notes: The classification is based on standard deviations from the global mean. Source: Electoral Integrity Project. 2014. The expert survey of Perceptions of Electoral Integrity, Release 3 (PEI-3)

    5.Democracy and development

    Overall the quality of elections (measured by PEI) is significantly correlated with contemporary levels of liberal democracy, as gauged by combining Freedom House and Polity V indicators of democratization matched to the year of the contest.


    More affluent societies also usually scored well in PEI although this was a stepped shift for societies above around $15,000 GDP per capita (in ppp), not a linear trend.


    Nevertheless historical experience of democracy and development did not determine current levels of integrity; well-rated elections were held in several newer democracies and emerging economies, including the Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Mongolia.

    By contrast, United States elections achieved the lowest score among all Western democracies under comparison.





    Source: Electoral Integrity Project. 2014. The expert survey of Perceptions of Electoral Integrity, Release 3 (PEI_3); Quality of Government Cross-National Dataset, downloaded February 2015 http://www.qog.pol.gu.se/data



    by Commonwealth Secretariat

    6.Which part of the electoral cycle is most at risk?

    Much commentary focuses on problems occurring on polling day in the voting process and ballot count, such as the debate about voter fraud or insecurity in ballot boxes. In fact, however, campaign finance and campaign media coverage are the weakest links in the electoral cycle.

    Money in politics was a concern in many developing countries, such as India, as well as in many affluent societies, such as the United States. The regulation of money in politics deserves greater attention by domestic actors and the international community when seeking to reduce corruption, the abuse of state resources, and vote-buying, to strengthen public confidence in elections, and to ensure a level playing field for all parties and candidates.

    Contrary to much attention by journalists and scholars, the end-stages of the electoral cycle, involving the process of vote tabulation, electoral procedures, and the announcement of the final results, were assessed by experts as the least problematic stage.

    4. Integrity during the electoral cycle





    Note: The standardized mean indices vary from low (0) to high (100) performance across all elections in the survey.
    Source: Electoral Integrity Project. 2015. The expert survey of Perceptions of Electoral Integrity, Release 3 (PEI_3)


    7. Looking ahead

    This report provides a snap-shot summary of the quality of elections in countries which held elections in the 30-month period under comparison. The evidence allows elections across the world to be compared with each other and any problems diagnosed across all eleven components of the electoral cycle. The inclusion of all nation-wide contests during this period (with the exclusion of micro-states with populations below 100,000) means that the evidence provides a representative cross-section of all nation-wide elections held worldwide. Further publications from the team of EIP researchers analyze the data in more depth, including explaining the conceptual framework, testing the reliability and robustness of the data, and exploring the consequences for political legitimacy, public participation and regime transitions.

    We hope that this report and the data provide useful evidence for a wide range of scholars and policymakers, including for academic researchers and students, public officials in Electoral Management Bodies, election watch and human rights organizations, broadcasters and reporters covering elections, and agencies within the international community seeking to strengthen electoral integrity.

    Nevertheless the report is limited in its international coverage and especially the capacity to draw comparisons over successive contests occurring within the same country. The evidence will become more comprehensive geographically and over time as the survey is replicated annually and the report is published in subsequent years, rolling out the evaluations to cover national parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015 and beyond.


    Further analysis and publications by the EIP team focus on several specific issues, including the prevention of electoral violence, the role of election management bodies, the impact of social media and crowd-sourcing on electoral transparency, the ways in which electoral integrity influences citizen activism and turnout, and the regulation of political finance.

    There are several opportunities to engage with the project at the University of Sydney through a series of international workshops, conferences, internships and visiting scholarships, with details available on the project website. All information is available via www.electoralintegrityproject.com.

    Comments and feedback are welcome. Any factual errors brought to our attention will be corrected in future releases of the data-set. In addition, it would be appreciated if copies of any related publications using the data-sets could be sent to the project and if the original data source could be clearly acknowledged in citations. This project is a new addition to the conceptual framework and battery of evidence available to assess problems of electoral integrity and it is hoped that this initiative proves valuable.


    Pippa Norris (Director EIP, Professor of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney, and McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics, Harvard University),

    Dr. Ferran Martínez i Coma (PEI Program Manager and Research Fellow)


    Max Grömping, Research Assistant


    February 2015




    by oscepa




    8. Further readings



    • Norris, Pippa, Ferran Martínez i Coma, and Richard W. Frank. 2013. ‘Assessing the quality of elections.’ Journal of Democracy. 24(4): 124‐135.






    • Norris, Pippa. 2013. ‘Does the world agree about standards of electoral integrity? Evidence for the diffusion of global norms’ Special issue of Electoral Studies 32(4):576‐588.


    • Norris, Pippa. 2013. ‘The new research agenda studying electoral integrity’. Special issue of Electoral Studies 32(4): 563‐575.


    • Norris, Pippa. 2014. ‘Electoral integrity and political legitimacy.’ In Comparing Democracies 4, eds. Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G. Niemi and Pippa Norris. London: Sage.




    • Norris, Pippa. 2015. (forthcoming) Why elections fail. New York: Cambridge University Press.


    • Norris, Pippa and Andrea Abel van Es. Eds. 2015. (forthcoming) Checkbook Elections? Political Finance in Comparative Perspective.


    • Martínez i Coma, Ferran and Carolien Van Ham. 2015 (forthcoming). ‘Can experts judge elections? Testing the validity of expert judgments for measuring election integrity’. European Journal of Political Research doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12084.


    • Norris, Pippa, Richard W. Frank and Ferran Martínez i Coma. 2014. ‘Measuring electoral integrity: A new dataset.’PS:Political Science & Politics 47(4): 789-798.


    9. Some frequently asked questions


    Q: Who are the experts?

    The identity of the country experts must be treated with confidentiality due to privacy issues. But in more general terms, an expert is defined as a political scientist (or social scientist in a related discipline such as sociology, economics, law…) who has published or who has other demonstrated knowledge of the political processes in a particular country. Specifically, we define demonstrated knowledge by the following criteria: (1) membership of a relevant research group, professional network, or organized section of such a group; (2) existing publications on electoral or other country-specific topics in books, academic journals, or conference papers; (3) employment at a university or college as a teacher. The selection sought to include a roughly equal balance between international and domestic experts. 40 persons per country were invited to participate in the survey.


    For moreinformation about expert selection please also refer to:
    Norris, Pippa, Ferran Martínez i Coma, and Richard W. Frank. 2013. ‘Assessing the quality of elections.’ Journal of Democracy. 24(4): 124-135.


    For a more detailed account of how the validity of the experts’ judgments was tested see:
    Martínez i Coma, Ferran and Carolien Van Ham. 2015 (forthcoming). ‘Can experts judge elections? Testing the validity of expert judgments for measuring election integrity’. European Journal of Political Research doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12084.
    The final version of this article will appear in the European Journal of Political Research later in 2015.



    Q: Why are one-party states such as Cuba or North Korea included in the survey?


    Some researchers might automatically exclude one-party states like North Korea from the comparison, on the grounds that human rights in these countries are so deeply flawed as to make the elections just a façade disguising autocratic rule. We feel, however, that there are several reasons for documenting levels of integrity in all these diverse cases.

    1. One is that the degree of party competition varies substantially worldwide, as illustrated in Figure 4 below. Legal bans, while a major violation of human rights, are only one mechanism to restrict opposition. It is an empirical matter to measure the degree of party competition, such as by monitoring the seat or vote share won by the leading party in parliamentary contests, or the vote share of the winning presidential candidate. The PEI is designed to measure all the ways that party and candidate competition can be limited, for example through lack of a level playing field in access to party finance or state resources, partisan manipulation of district boundaries (gerrymandering), excessive legal requirements for ballot access, and high de jure or de facto vote-seat electoral thresholds. In several micro-states, small legislatures with majoritarian electoral systems also allow a clean sweep in a landslide victory for one party.
    2. In addition, it is also important to monitor the contemporary quality of all elections worldwide to create benchmarks for future change, should states loosen legal restrictions on party and candidate competition in subsequent elections.
    3. Several aspects of electoral governance may still function relatively cleanly and efficiently even in states with restricted party competition and human rights. Indeed the quality of electoral governance may be higher in these cases than in several fledgling democracies with weak state capacity and insufficient resources to stamp-out malpractices and irregularities such as vote-buying, ballot-stuffing, or security threats. In Cuba, for example, during the nomination process some genuine competition is reported among rival candidates. Moreover, in the case of North Korea, mustering the nation is a chance for the authorities to hone their mobilisation skills, check the efficiency of local leaders and get a snapshot of internal movements, and in all the logistical aspects may be well run.
    4. The mean results also need to be read along with the confidence intervals which we publish, as well as the number of responses and response rates per country. Anyone is also free to exclude states with few expert responses to the evaluations.
    5. Finally this is a Perceptions of Electoral Integrity survey and obviously perceptions differ, and they may be wrong, for example concerning Republicans believing in fraud and Democrats believing in suppression. If we second guess the expert responses, for example if we personally disagree with the face validity of the assessments in cases such as Cuba, Iran and N. Korea so that we drop these cases, then this invalidates the process of gathering expert views.


    Figure 4: PEI by levels of party competition
    Note: The seat share is calculated by the proportion of seats in the lower house of the national parliament held by the largest party following the election.
    Source: Electoral Integrity Project. 2014. The expert survey of Perceptions of Electoral Integrity, Release 3 (PEI_3)


    Q. Why is my country not yet included in the survey?

    The PEI-3.0 rolling survey currently runs from 1 July 2012 until 31 Dec 2014. We will be covering more national parliamentary and presidential elections in independent nation-states around the world once these are held, for example during 2015 we are planning to include the UK, Canada, Nigeria, and Myanmar. The only exclusion from our survey concerns a dozen micro-states, such as Andorra, where it is difficult to find sufficient experts. The results of the survey will be published in subsequent reports in a cumulative fashion so that eventually the project will achieve global coverage.


    10. More details


    Download the full report: PDF format (49 pages)

    The PEI data is freely available for download at the Electoral Integrity Project's Dataverse.
    http://thedata.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/PEI



    Dynamic maps and figures: https://public.tableausoftware.com/p...electintegrity


    Send your comments and feedback.










    py

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    The EC's Masters are happy.

    Despite lowly electoral integrity ranking, Putrajaya says satisfied with EC

    RAM ANAND
    Published: 11 June 2015 1:06 PM

    Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim says foreign bodies are welcome to make their own assessments, referring to the Havard report on Malaysia’s Election Commission. –The Malaysian Insider pic, June 11, 2015.Despite Malaysia's near-bottom ranking in a recent global electoral integrity report, Putrajaya insisted today that it remains "satisfied" with the performance of Election Commission (EC).


    The Electoral Integrity Report by Harvard University recently ranked Malaysia 114th out of 127 countries surveyed, but Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said that the administration remains content with the EC's handling of the electoral process.


    "Foreign bodies are free to make assessment and give their own perceptions regarding the EC," Shahidan said in a parliamentary written reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru).

    "In principle, the government is satisfied with EC's ability in all their policy implementation and their actions," he said.


    EC chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof previously dismissed the Harvard report on the grounds that the EC was not interviewed by the surveyors. – June 11, 2015.
    py

  3. #3
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    11:39AM Jun 11, 2015
    Malaysiakini
    Gov't dismisses EC's poor integrity ranking

    13

    PARLIAMENT The government has dismissed the Electoral Integrity Report 2015, in which Malaysia's Election Commission (EC) is ranked 114 out of 127 countries for electoral integrity as "mere perception."

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