Why Public Participation Rarely Matters: Political Parties Do: Alexander Hudson (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity) Abstract: Over the past three decades, participatory methods of constitution making have gained increasing acceptance, to the point that it is almost unthinkable that a new constitution would be drafted without significant input from the public. It is especially notable that public participation now commonly occurs prior to the drafting stage. Though there has been some research on the effects of participatory drafting on democratic consolidation, we still know very little about how much public participation affects the constitution (as text or in a larger sense). This article undertakes an empirical analysis of the extent to which public participation in constitution making has impacted the text in two cases noted for their high levels of participation: Brazil (1988) and South Africa (1996). Analysis of these cases shows that the impacts on the constitutional text have not been as extensive as previously thought. However, the impact has varied in systematic ways, and where the impact has been small, this has principally been due to the capacity of strong political parties to dominate the process. The theory advanced here posits that party strength (especially in terms of discipline and programmatic commitments) is the key determinant of the effectiveness of public participation. In cases where the drafting body is populated by weak parties (or has excluded parties) there is a much higher likelihood that public participation will have a meaningful impact on the constitution.
Electoral & Security Sector Coordination: Impacts on Election Violence in ECOWAS: Gabrielle Bardall (University of Ottawa) Abstract: Electoral violence in sub-Saharan Africa is a persistent threat to electoral integrity and democratic development. Breaking with the body of literature that focuses on the causes of violence, this research project examines the nature and quality of state security sector collaboration with electoral management bodies (EMBs), to identify impact on election violence prevention. The research develops a classification of existing mechanisms of EMB-Security Sector coordination in the ECOWAS region. The effectiveness of these mechanisms is evaluated according to various electoral risk factors and outcomes in four countries in the ECOWAS region, based on an adapted model of Bai et al.’s Integrated Predictive Framework for Electoral Violence (ipFEV) . Identified correlations are examined in-depth through field research in four case study countries in the region, Niger, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The resulting analysis presents a comparative assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of various coordination mechanisms in addressing distinct types of election violence, including the importance of contextual factors in efficacy and timing. The research contributes a nuanced understanding of effectiveness of security responses in preventing and mitigation distinct forms of election violence in a regional affected by political and terrorist threats during electoral cycles.
Perceived Electoral Integrity: A Global Review and Meta-Analysis of National Conditions: Andrew Klassen (Charles Darwin University) Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Public attitudes towards electoral integrity matter because fraudulent elections can, for instance, undermine government support or trigger violent uprisings. This global comparative review analyses which previously identified national-level factors have the strongest effects on public attitudes towards elections.
METHODS: The article first develops and introduces an index of electoral integrity based on public surveys aggregated from nineteen sources. This index covers 135 countries between 1995 and 2016 where data is available. The study then compares this index against national-level variables measuring different political, economic, and social conditions using time-series cross-sectional analysis.
RESULTS: Political corruption, government integrity, and fundamental rights are some of the strongest predictors of perceived electoral integrity. Income inequality, income per capita, media freedom, and other factors are also important, but GDP growth and some aspects of the political system have weak effects.
DISCUSSION: This article provides a starting point for further research and subsequent respondent-level analysis. The findings could inform efforts to restore trust in electoral processes and consolidate democracy internationally. The index uses data formatted for Human Understanding Measured Across National (HUMAN) Surveys, which can be applied to many other research topics.
Causes and Consequences of Non-Resident Enfranchisement: Introducing the Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions Dataset [EVRR]: Nathan Allen (St. Francis Xavier University), Elizabeth Wellman (Yale University), Benjamin Nyblade (University of California Los Angeles) Abstract: Over 110 countries have extended voting rights to non-resident citizens since 1980. Yet the formal extension of rights is often accompanied by restrictive implementation. This central paradox of the external enfranchisement wave has not been captured by existing extraterritorial voting rights datasets, limiting investigation into the causes and consequences of non-resident enfranchisement. This paper introduces the Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions Dataset [EVRR], the first global time-series dataset of external voting, covering 190 countries between 1980-2017. EVRR disaggregates legal adoption and implementation, and codes over 20 restrictions on voting rights, allowing us to amend and extend prominent work exploring diaspora-state relations. First, where Turcu & Urbatsch (2015) find evidence of a diffusion effect in the legal extension of extraterritorial voting rights, we identify implementation by a neighboring country---not policy adoption---as the key mechanism of diffusion. Second, we expand Leblang’s (2017) study of citizenship and remittances, demonstrating that inclusive external voting rights engage the diaspora in home-country affairs, increasing remittance flows.