Researchers Measure International Election Performance

Finding standardized, comparable data on election administration across jurisdictions can be challenging. Pew’s Elections Performance Index relies heavily on data collected from local election administrators using the Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), as well as surveys of the general public such as the Voting and Registration Supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Survey of the Performance of American Elections. Before the creation of the EAVS, little standardized data were available for use in comparing election administration across the states.

International elections researchers face a similar situation: They lack cross-national data on election administration. The Electoral Integrity Project has tried to address the challenge of gathering data and assessing elections across counties, and in February it released its third annual report and data set comparing 127 national parliamentary and presidential contests around the world.

The project evaluates electoral integrity by surveying election experts in a country after each national election. The questionnaire asks 49 questions within 11 subcategories of the election process, including voter registration, campaign finance, and vote counting. The results from all surveyed countries are then aggregated to create an index of electoral integrity. 

Researchers at the project are investigating additional ways to assess elections, such as leveraging the World Values Survey to measure public perceptions of election integrity and developing a new cross-national survey of election authorities who are involved in electoral governance. 

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