New edited book
Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability, & Integrity (2017)
Eds. Pippa Norris and Alessandro Nai
New York: Oxford University Press,
Forthcoming April 2017
Recent years have seen renewed interest in the potential capacity of transparency to improve democratic governance. Timely, accurate, granular and freely-available information is generally regarded as intrinsically valuable, as well as having many instrumental benefits. In the field of electoral governance, transparency involves openness about the rules and procedures, outcomes, and decisions processes used by electoral authorities. It is widely assumed that this will build public trust, improve policy-making, and facilitate accountability.
In practice, however, the instrumental consequences of transparency are less clear-cut than many proponents claim. It remains difficult to establish whether, and under what conditions, greater information alone strengthens the accountability of government bodies to their own citizens, the quality of public services, or the compliance of agencies with international norms and standards. There may also be negative consequences, for example if electoral faults are highlighted without redress.
To understand these issues more fully, this book brings together original research which assesses the contemporary drive towards open electoral governance and identifies several conditions predicted to determine the success of transparency in strengthening electoral integrity. To be effective, we argue that transparency ideally needs to be accompanied by accountability (identifying the underlying reasons for any incidents of electoral maladministration and responsibility for any flaws which occur) and also mechanisms ensuring compliance to improve performance (including the use of incentives and sanctions).
It is also important to supplement the conventional chain of electoral accountability in democratic states by multiple channels – upwards towards the international community, horizontally among state agencies, and vertically downwards to civil society. These safeguards are designed to strengthen mechanisms of transparency, accountability, and compliance.
Preface and acknowledgments
List of tables and figures
List of contributors
1. Transparency in electoral governance Pippa Norris
II: Upwards accountability to the international community
2. International monitors Craig Arceneaux and Anika Leithner
3. International enforcement Daniela Donno
4. Electoral reform Ferran Martinez i Coma
5. Election audits Erica Shein and Chad Vickery
III: Horizontal accountability to state actors
6. Election management Holly Ann Garnett
7. Constitutional courts Armen Mazmanyan
8. Poll workers Alistair Clark and Toby S. James
IV: Downward accountability to civil society
9. Domestic monitors Max Grömping
10. The fourth estate Alessandro Nai
11. Electoral transparency, accountability and integrity Pippa Norris