The Voter Experience Around the World: Lessons for Theory and Practice

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Abstract

This special issue has introduced the human reflexivity approach as a framework for studying elections. Empirical studies in the volume have then considered how institutional design, cultural practices and strategic actions come together to inform the voter experience – and how this experience, in turn, has broader consequences for the quality of elections and democracy. This concluding piece summarises some of the key empirical findings and draws out lessons for policy makers. Given that citizens who are younger and have fewer formal educational qualifications self-report a poorer voter experience, there is an urgent need for action to equalise democracy. The special issue provides empirical evidence in support of implementing automatic and assisted voter registration, civic education, limiting overly restrictive voter identification requirements, caution with concurrent elections and improved transparency practices. A human reflexivity approach, it is argued, gives policy makers greater theoretical freedom to support better elections and democracy – rather than follow ‘rational’ logics of power maximisation both described and prescribed by traditional rational choice theorists.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRepresentation
Early online date20 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2024

Keywords

  • democracy
  • electoral backsliding
  • Electoral integrity
  • electoral malpractice
  • trust

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