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Building Better Elections: The Role of Human Resource Management Practices

Elections
Governance
Public Administration
Policy Implementation
Toby James
University of East Anglia
Toby James
University of East Anglia
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Abstract

Conducting an election is a huge logistical challenge which involves the management and recruitment of enormous workforces. Despite the many well run elections, it is no surprise that electoral integrity is often undermined by individual errors, poorly designed management systems or the poor use of technology (Montjoy 2008, James 2014, Norris 2015, James forthcoming). Yet there is very little information about the staff that run elections and the management practices in place. This paper reports new data from an international survey of electoral management bodies (n=43) and electoral officials (n=1120) with data from over 50 countries. Firstly, it provides new information about the workforce sizes, before profiling the demographic and educational characteristics of personnel within 25 electoral management bodies. Secondly, it describes the human resource practices that are used. Thirdly, it tests for the effects of these practices on employee outcomes such as propensity to leave, stress and job satisfaction. Lastly, it tests whether there is a relationship between employee outcomes and overall measures of electoral integrity. The paper therefore makes an important contribution to the debate on ‘what works’ in building better elections. Bibliography James, T. S. (2014). Electoral Management in Britain. Advancing Electoral Integrity. P. Norris, R. Frank and F. Matinez I Coma. New York, Oxford University Press: 135-164. James, T. S. (forthcoming). Comparative Electoral Management: Performance, Networks and Instruments. London and New York, Routledge. Montjoy, R. S. (2008). "The Public Administration of Elections." Public Administration Review 68(5): 788-799. Norris, P. (2015). Why Elections Fail. New York, Cambridge University Press.