Electoral integrity

Authored by: Pippa Norris

The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behaviorand Public Opinion

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138890404
eBook ISBN: 9781315712390
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the course of the past decade a new sub-field of study has emerged on the topic of electoral integrity, which can be broadly defined as the overarching practical and normative context within which elections occur. This chapter reviews the growth of this literature to show how it departs from traditional approaches to understanding electoral behavior and institutions. In particular it highlights the commitment of scholars to a more normative, problem solving, and policy relevant agenda. After contextualizing this new body of work within the wider academic canon the chapter moves on to discuss how electoral integrity can be operationalized and sets out the key criteria that measures of electoral integrity need to meet in order to be considered valid and reliable. The final section of the chapter summarizes recent empirical work demonstrating the importance of perceptions of electoral integrity for levels of popular trust and confidence in the political system, and also for turnout and protest activity. The conclusion identifies the next steps for moving the contemporary research agenda on electoral integrity forward.

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