“Comparative Election Administration: A Legal Perspective on Electoral Institutions”

Dan Tokaji has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming, Edward Elgar volume on comparative election law edited by Jim Gardner). Here is the abstract:

This chapter examines the institutions responsible for administering elections around the world and considers what law, lawyers, and legal scholars might do to strengthen democracy through their improvement. A now-substantial body of literature examines election management bodies in both emerging and established democracies. The consensus is that independent election administration is essential to electoral integrity. This chapter challenges the conventional wisdom in two respects. First, it argues that the formal independence of election management bodies is less important than their functional impartiality. Interactions between election institutions and political parties often promote evenhanded administration better than complete insulation from politics. Thus, formal independence may ultimately detract from functional impartiality. Second, this chapter challenges the narrow focus on election management bodies and attendant disregard for other institutions involved in elections, especially judicial and quasi-judicial actors. It argues that comparative analysis should focus on the interaction among the various entities that collectively comprise the electoral system, including both administrative and adjudicative bodies. The chapter concludes by proposing criteria for assessing electoral systems and suggesting that election lawyers and scholars engage more deeply in international election observation.

Looking forward to reading this!

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