Should the guardians be independent? Electoral management bodies and electoral integrity



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Tartu Ülikool


Fair elections are fundamental for democratic governance, they are the result of a complex process, the implementation of which requires the application and responsible execution of all procedures at all stages of the electoral cycle. In many non-democratic countries, the falsification of voting results is carried out regularly. Election results can also be rigged in democracies, which casts doubt on the legitimacy of the entire electoral process and democracy in general. The electoral administration is directly responsible for the development and implementation of electoral procedures to hold legitimate elections recognized by international society. This thesis studies the electoral management bodies (EMBs) and their models and aims to reveal the relationship between the institutional characteristics of election commissions and electoral integrity. Based on the previous research, this study assumes that the establishment of independent election commissions contributes to improving the quality of elections in non-democratic countries, while in democracies the choice of an institutional model is not expected to be important. Data used in the study comes from Intentional IDEA and ACE Electoral Project, Perceptions of Electoral Integrity Project, and local EMBs' websites. Findings indicate that the institutional type of EMBs cannot predict the quality of elections. However, in the analysis of interactions, the variable of party participation in EMBs turned out to be significant.