US Elections A global ranking places the USA as the weakest of the liberal democracies By Ngan R. Huffman On Jun 1, 2022 Share is widely considered a front line between autocratic rule and democratic freedom. The United States continues to absorb the importance of the uprising that took place on January 6, 2021 to overthrow the outcome of the previous year’s election. Elsewhere, concerns have been raised that the pandemic could provide cover for governments postpone elections. Elections are an essential part of democracy. They enable citizens to hold their governments accountable for their actions and bring about peaceful transitions of power. Unfortunately, elections often fall short of these ideals. You can be affected by problems like intimidation of voters, low voter turnout, fake news and the Under-representation of women and minority candidates. Our new research paper provides a global assessment of the quality of national elections around the world from 2012-21, based on nearly 500 elections in 170 countries. The US is the lowest-ranked liberal democracy on the list. It ranks only 15th in the 29 States of the Americas, behind Costa Rica, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and others, and 75th overall. Why is the United States so low? There have been claims by ex-President Donald Trump widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. These claims were unfounded, but they still caused the US election rankings to drop. Elections with disputed results score lower in our rankings because an important part of democracy is the peaceful transition of power through accepted outcomes, not violence and violence. Trump’s comments led to post-election violence as his supporters stormed the Capitol and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome across much of America. This highlights that electoral integrity is not just about making laws, but also about candidates and supporters acting responsibly throughout the electoral process. The story goes on Perceptions of election integrity are measured by experts for each country one month after the close of elections. Experts are asked to rate the quality of national elections across 11 sub-dimensions: electoral laws; electoral procedures; county boundaries; voter registration; party registration; media coverage; campaign finance; voting process; vote counting; Results; and electoral authorities. These points add up to an overall Election Integrity Index, which is scored from 0 to 100. f Election Integrity Project. The troubles with the US election, however, run much deeper than this one event. Our report shows that the way electoral boundaries are set in the US is a cause for concern. There is a long history of Gerrymanderingwhere political districts are cleverly drawn by the legislature to include populations more likely to vote for them in a given constituency – as seen recently in North Carolina. Voter registration and voting is another issue. Some US states have recently passed laws that make voting difficult, such as B. the requirement for an ID card, which is a cause for concern what effect that will have on turnout. We already know that the cost, time and complexity of the ID process, combined with the added difficulties for those with high mobility or insecure housing situations, make this even less likely underrepresented groups will participate in elections. Scandinavia at the top, concern for Russia The Nordic countries Finland, Sweden and Denmark took the first places in our ranking. Finland is commonly described as having a pluralistic media landscape, which is helpful. It also provides public funds to help political parties and candidates participate in elections. A last report from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights noted a “high level of trust in all aspects of the electoral process”. Cape Verde has the highest quality of electoral integrity in Africa. Taiwan, Canada and New Zealand rank first for their respective continents. Electoral integrity in Russia has continued to decline following the 2021 general election. A pre-election report warned against intimidation and violence against journalists, and the media “largely promotes the policies of the current government”. Only Belarus ranks lower in Europe. Globally, electoral integrity is lowest in Comoros, Central African Republic and Syria. Money is important How politicians and political parties receive and spend money turned out to be the weakest part of the electoral process in general. There are all kinds of threats to the integrity of elections that revolve around campaign funds. For example, where the campaign money comes from could influence a candidate’s ideology or policies on important issues. It is also often the case that the candidate who spends the most money wins – which means that inequality of opportunity is often part of an election. It helps when parties and candidates have to publish transparent financial accounts. But at a time when “dark money” can be more easily transferred across borders, it can be very difficult to understand where donations are really coming from. There are also solutions to many of the other problems, such as automatic voter registration, independence of the electoral authorities, Funding for poll workers and election observation. Democracy may need to be defended in battle, as we are currently seeing in Ukraine. But it must also be defended before it comes to all-out conflict, through debate, protest, clicktivism, and calls for electoral reform. This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article. The conversation Toby James has previously been supported by Canada’s SSHRC, AHRC, ESRC, Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, Electoral Commission, Nuffield Foundation and McDougall Trust. His current research is funded by Canada’s SSHRC and ESRC. Holly Ann Garnett receives financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Defense Academy Research Program. She has previously received grants from: the British Academy, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the Centennial Center of the American Political Science Association, and the Conference of Defense Associations. 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