Election administration, election observation, and election quality

Authored by: Susan D. Hyde , Kevin Pallister

Routledge Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415630887
eBook ISBN: 9781315731377
Adobe ISBN: 9781317551799


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Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that the “will of the people…shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” Most countries in the world hold periodic elections, formal provisions for universal and equal suffrage are common, and election rules guaranteeing a secret ballot are nearly universal. However, despite the apparent progress made towards the widespread adoption of democratic political institutions, the quality of elections held throughout the world continues to vary widely, with some elections approaching the democratic ideal type and others used as tools of authoritarian resilience. 2 Figure 17.1 illustrates several of these trends.

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