Wednesday, 29 May 2013


L-to-R: Max Gromping, Carolien Van Ham, Ferran Martinez iComa, Pippa Norris, Larry LeDuc, Sandra Urquiza, Rich Frank, University of Sydney Quadrangle, March 2013

My name is Rich Frank, and I am the manager of the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP). This project is spearheaded by Pippa Norris and jointly housed at the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The EIP was formally kicked off at a one-day workshop at the 2012 meeting of the International Political Science Association held in Madrid. Recently, however the project has really started to hum as I and the rest of the EIP team arrived in Sydney in January and February 2013.

Briefly, we are an international team of scholars from several continents who are brought together by a common interest in the causes,  consequences, and policy interventions of electoral integrity. You can read much more about our team, the project, our research, and our plans for a series of conferences and publications at our website, so I won't go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say that we are focused on three main questions:
  • When do elections meet international standards of electoral integrity?
  • What happens when elections fail to do so?
  • And what can be done to mitigate these problems?
Over the coming months (and years) we will be (regularly) posting on a variety of topics and events related to elections and the integrity of their process. Each of us focuses on a distinct aspect of electoral integrity. Dr. Ferran Martínez i Coma is gathering data on expert perceptions of electoral integrity, and issues of how integrity shapes turnout, while my work focuses on the areas of electoral laws and electoral violence. Our two PhD students, Max Grömping and Sandra Urquiza, are writing dissertations on crowd-sourcing election monitoring and campaign finance respectively. We also have a series of resident and visiting fellows working on related topics.

Overall it makes for a busy and active intellectual atmosphere. We share a common focus on rigorous social science that has real world policy implications. And this focus is already starting to bear fruit. In the last few months we have begun gathering new individual and state-level data on electoral integrity (pilot stage data are available now on our website), and we will be posting our results on the integrity of elections in 2013 in the months ahead. Next week (3-4 June) we are holding an international workshop with more than thirty papers and seventy participants on concepts and indices of electoral integrity at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard.

Altogether it is an exciting time to be studying elections and ways of bolstering their integrity.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and I am the one on the right.

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