News and Events
Medium Grants for Departmental Research on Electoral Integrity Project announced
12 September, 2012
The Electoral Integrity Project is pleased to announce that three Medium Grants have been awarded for research projects on electoral integrity in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney in 2013/2014.
Further submissions for subsequent years will be welcome by 1st Sept 2013.
Award Committee: Pippa Norris, Anna Boucher and David Schlosberg
Rodney Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
He is the author or editor of eight books on Australian politics, most recently Carr to Keneally (2012), a study of the NSW Labor Government and the 2011 election. He has also published many journal articles and book chapters, particularly on political parties, elections and public sector integrity. In 2009, he was commissioned by the NSW Electoral Commission to write a report on the political implications of electronic voting (Smith 2009). This report was influential in the decision of the NSW Government to initiate internet voting at NSW elections. He is a member of the Electoral Council of Australia’s forum on electronic voting.
Professor Smith is collaborating with the EIP project, funded by the award in 2013 of a Medium Grant for Departmental Research, on Electronic Voting and Electoral Integrity. ($24,663).
Synopsis: Does the use of electronic voting damage or strengthen perceptions of electoral integrity and institutional trust?
This project considers this issue by addressing four main questions: 1. What roles do various considerations of electoral integrity (compared with other factors) play in government moves to introduce, expand, change and abandon electronic voting? 2. How much confidence do citizens have in electronic voting compared with other forms of casting and counting votes? What explains differing levels of confidence in electronic voting? 3. How is confidence in electronic voting among citizens related to their trust in the integrity of the electoral system and the political system as a whole? 4. How and why does confidence in electronic voting differ between the mass citizenry and political elites?
The research will have three major components: (a) Development of a comparative data base of electronic voting in 30 selected countries; (b) The USA: a ‘brown fields’ case study in which electronic voting has been widespread but controversial (c) Australia: a ‘green fields’ case study in which electronic voting is only used in a very limited way and its introduction has not (yet) proved controversial.
Benjamin E. Goldsmith is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
His research and teaching are in the areas of international conflict, international public opinion and U.S. foreign policy, and political instability and mass atrocities. He is the author of the book Imitation in International Relations: Observational Learning, Analogies, and Foreign Policy in Russia and Ukraine, as well as articles in leading academic journals including European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Politics and World Politics. He has received major research grants from the Australian Research Council and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (Michigan 2001) and an M.A. in Russian Area Studies (Georgetown 1995). Before joining the University of Sydney in 2008, he taught at other universities in Australia, Singapore, and the United States.
Professor Goldsmith is collaborating with the EIP project, funded by the award in 2013 of a Medium Grant for Departmental Research, on Authoritarian Elections, Electoral Integrity, and Political Violence. ($25,000)
Synopsis: Under what conditions are elections in undemocratic polities more likely to spark violence?
This project studies the connection between electoral integrity and violence associated with elections in non-democratic countries. This empirical study develops and tests theoretically grounded propositions, using large-sample statistical analysis covering virtually all countries in the world, complemented with qualitative examples to illustrate the plausibility of the arguments and findings.
The logical pivot of the competing expectations is that, electoral malpractices might help avoid violence, because they help incumbents maintain power, but they may also lead to violence, because they disenfranchise opposition groups and a large portion of the electorate.
Conversely, elections with integrity threaten incumbents, which might lead to their use of violence against the opposition, while they advantage the opposition and the electorate by providing the possibility of genuine access to power, thus reducing their temptation to use violence.
These competing expectations are explored in two particular scenarios: regime liberalization and post-conflict normalization.
One purpose of the project is to improve understanding of the role of political institutions and the sources of serious political violence in non-democratic settings, by focusing specifically on elections. Another purpose is to contribute to the body of policy-relevant knowledge on the benefits and risks inherent in elections as an aspect of democratization processes, which by definition applies to non-democratic regimes.
Anika Gauja is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney.
Her research interests broadly centre on the comparative analysis of political institutions in modern representative democracies. Her work to date has looked at the operation of political parties and parliaments, assessing the continuing relevance of these institutions as mechanisms for citizen participation in politics and their ability to represent diverse and conflicting interests. She has published in political science and law journals, both within Australia and internationally, including the Australian Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Legislative Studies, Party Politics and the Public Law Review. Anika is currently undertaking a research project on party legitimacy and the dynamics of organisational change.
Dr Gauja is collaborating with the EIP project, funded by the award in 2014 of a Medium Grant for Departmental Research, on The Legal Regulation of Political Parties: Promoting Electoral Integrity? ($20,040)
Synopsis: This research project adopts a new approach to comparative party law by analyzing the legal regulation of political parties from the perspective of electoral integrity. Advising on and utilizing the Global Database on the Legal Framework for Elections, the project will identify the normative framework in international law (including human rights treaties and the various standards set by NGOs) that govern the appropriate regulation of political parties. It will then examine global trends in regulation, including the various conditions (political, economic etc.) under which these principles can be most successfully implemented by states. A workshop presenting new research on party regulation and electoral integrity will be held in Sydney in 2014 and will offer a diverse range of academic, expert and practitioner perspectives on the most effective legal frameworks and regulatory environments to achieve international norms of integrity.