A University of East Anglia (UEA) researcher will jointly lead a project to improve elections around the world, thanks to a grant of nearly $193,000CAN.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant is part of its Partnership Development Scheme, to fund UEA and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) project for three years.
UEA’s Prof Toby S James and RMC’s Dr Holly Ann Garnett direct the Electoral Integrity Project. They are collaborating with the Carter Center, in Atlanta; the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm (International IDEA); and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Washington, DC to undertake the collection of cross-national data on elections, develop policy solutions for improving electoral integrity and build a lasting network between scholars and practitioners.
The grant will see these institutions collaborate with UEA until March 2024, and it is hoped that further collaboration will develop, increasing UEA’s reach and research excellence in the humanities and social sciences.
The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) is a world-leading project that focusses on the democratic quality of elections around the globe and how they can be improved. The project is currently directed by Prof James and Dr Garnett and is housed at the RMC/Queen’s University in Canada and UEA in the UK. It was founded by Prof Pippa Norris in 2012 at Harvard and Sydney universities.
The new project puts UEA at the epicentre of an important endeavour designed to break new ground in research, yielding actionable deliverables that will increase our understanding of the contemporary threats to democratic principles, and ways to mitigate risks to electoral processes.
Prof James, professor of politics and public policy in UEA’s School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, said: “The world has seen increasing declines in the quality of democracy and elections are a crucial part of this.
“The grant enables our work to continue in evaluating the quality of elections worldwide and how they can be improved.”
The EIP will publish regular reports on election quality and hold regular meetings between practitioners and academics. The next of these will take place online in a virtual format in July 2021.