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New research identifies how administrative methods can affect voter turnout

New research which identifies how the administrative methods used to conduct elections can affect voter turnout has been published by Dr Toby James, Political and Cultural Studies lecturer in Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities.

The study, which concentrates on the administrative systems through which the electoral register is compiled and how votes are cast and counted, has led Dr James to construct a classification system of forms of election administration and their known impact on voter turnout.

Dr James said: “In recent years a number of democracies, including the UK, have sought to reform election administration either to improve voter participation or reduce opportunities for electoral fraud.

“This study provides an examination of existing research in this field, which has mainly focused on American elections, and provides a useful source of methods to increase voter participation.

“The classification system is a practical tool which can help policy-makers and practitioners identify measures which could increase voter turnout in elections.”

Dr James’s study found procedures that boost voter turnout are election-day registration, all-postal voting, and internet voting. In contrast those measures which restrict voter participation include early registration deadlines, infrequent updates to the register, and identification requirements.

In the UK alone, internet voting, text message voting and postal voting have all been experimented with in the last 10 years and the UK currently has plans to change the registration process from household to individual registration in time for the next general election.

The full research article, entitled 'Electoral Administration and Voter Turnout: Towards an International Public Policy Continuum', has been published by Representation, the journal of Representative Democracy.

To view the article visit http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a929546276~frm=titlelink

For more information about the research, visit http://www.tobysjames.com/

For more information on Swansea University’s Department of Political and Cultural Studies visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/politics/

This news item has been posted by Katy Drane, Swansea University Public Relations Office, Tel: 01792 295050 or email k.drane@swansea.ac.uk .

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