Despite the growing concern about elections which fail around the world, there has been little systematic understanding of the importance of this phenomenon. Indeed past research has been fragmented across sub-fields and regions, poorly conceptualized and under-theorized, and many aspects of electoral management have been unduly neglected and relegated to dusty corners of public administration. Over-simple 'pass-fail' measures of the overall quality of elections provide insufficient detail for analysts and minimal guidance for policymakers.
This new book theorizes that electoral integrity matters for multiple reasons, including for political legitimacy, by strengthening public confidence in electoral institutions, a sense of external political efficacy, and satisfaction with the performance of democracy; for civic activism, by increasing levels of voting turnout and civic activism, while dampening the propensity to engage in protest politics; for political representation, including by improving the electoral accountability and thus the responsiveness of elected officials for the delivery of private and collective goods; for security, by accommodating all groups through electoral channels and thereby reducing the underlying grievances which lead towards electoral violence, popular unrest, and civil wars; and ultimately for processes of democratization, including encouraging the macro-level consolidation of democratic procedures, norms, and institutions.
By developing a new conceptual framework, measured by new sources of cross-national evidence, this volume demonstrate the importance of all these relationships, thereby drawing attention to the reasons why electoral integrity is increasingly moving from margin to mainstream in the research agenda in comparative politics, democratization studies, political behavior, international relations and security studies, and public policy.