Only in America? Executive partisan interest and the politics of election administration in Ireland, the UK and USA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


What role does executive partisan interest play in the reform of election administration? The forces for reform and continuity in the USA, the UK and Ireland from 1980 to 2007 are compared. Partisan involvement is found to be present in the USA and the UK but less so in Ireland. This is explained by conceiving partisan interest as a context-specific causal mechanism which varies according to three factors. First, an issue trigger may be required to bring election administration on to executive policy agenda. Five such triggers are identified in the cases. Second, the systemic institutional features of political systems shape and refract the (non-)politics of election administration by altering the incentives, opportunities for and constraints upon elite action. Executive interest in and action on election administration are influenced by the electoral system, party system and constitutional control over procedures. Finally, executive strategy on election administration is influenced by the reform process of other electoral institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-240
Number of pages22
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this