We are currently running a survey of electoral officials across Europe, and around the world.
There has been considerable research undertaken into the laws that govern elections. Research on electoral systems, for example, is probably the most well established areas of political science. Yet, barely anything has been written on the organisations and the people who organise elections: the resources they have, the technology they use and the training / workplace practices.
An international team of researchers (Toby James, Leotine Loeber, Holly Ann Garnett, Carolien van Ham) are seeking to address this imbalance with a new project. This involves the first ever survey of electoral organisations across Europe, in collaboration with the Electoral Integrity Project who are gathering data from other parts of the world. The project was endorsed by representatives of electoral management boards across Europe at the Venice Commission’s conference earlier in 2016 (see the conference conclusions here).
The survey is currently in the field / being sent out. If you are a recipient of the survey, here are some FAQs, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Why do you want to do a survey?
Our ultimate aim is to help electoral officials. Elections are organised very differently around the world so we are trying to establish what these variations are and how they may make a difference to confidence in the electoral process, efficiency and organisational outcomes.
Information on the budgets, use of technology, human resource practices, employee outcomes and perceptions of electoral integrity within the organisations that run elections.
What will happen with the responses/data afterwards?
The researchers will use the data to write reports and academic articles. The aim is not identify the ‘best’ or ‘worst’ electoral organisations – it is to pool the data and identify cross-national patterns and lessons.
The personnel data will be kept strictly confidential. It will be aggregated so that countries, organisations and individuals are not identifiable and confidential details removed. An analysis will then be undertaken for academic articles and reports for policy makers. The structural data will be made available to other researchers on request.
How can I complete the survey?
We have list of European electoral management bodies and we are writing to them, asking them to circulate the survey. But feel free to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Which organisations are you interested in?
We are interested in all organisations that undertake a role in running elections: from those that compile the electoral register to the boundaries. The number and type of organisations varies considerably, so we have designed a survey that allows to try to accommodate all. Naturally, some questions may not apply. These can be left blank.
Will you embarrass my organisation?
Absolutely not. We will not generate ‘league tables’ of performance. We will not name and shame particular organisations or governments. It is to pool the data and draw out lessons from it for mutual benefit
One of the personnel survey questions seems to be leading.
The questions used are standard questions that have been used in many studies of business management. If a statement seems negative, then respondents can express a positive view by disagreeing. In our analysis, the proportion that agree with a statement is of less importance – it is the relationship with other responses that matters. Individuals respondents can feel free to answer any questions they do not want to answer,.
How can I found out what the results will be?
Copies of report and publications will be made available on this website. We’d be happy to talk to organisations / interested parties about the outcomes of the project. Please do get in touch.