ECPR General Conference
Université de Montréal, Montreal
26 - 29 August 2015

Election Administration, Voter Education and Turnout: Can Electoral Management Bodies Facilitate the Electorate?

Stephen Quinlan
GESIS, Leibniz
Stephen Quinlan
GESIS, Leibniz

This paper investigates the impact of electoral management bodies (EMBs) on voter turnout. In recent years, there has been an appreciation that the conduct of elections can influence turnout To date, this research agenda has primarily explored matters such as government’s harassment of the opposition, the impact of political parties being banned, as well as citizen’s perceptions of the integrity of the voting process. Much less focus has been dedicated to the EMBs themselves. This paper turns the spotlight on EMBs and tests whether their configuration (independent versus government run) and if policies carried out by these bodies aimed at educating citizens about elections influences turnout.
Using data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), we find that turnout is higher in countries where EMBs are independent of government.
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