This Jean Monnet Europa Policy Lab was an invitation-only seminar focused on two core themes that place citizens at the heart of the democratic system: Understanding electoral ergonomics, and ensuring effective access to the vote for all and notably the most vulnerable voter categories.
Key to the understanding of citizens’ electoral experience is examining the way in which every aspect of electoral organisation affects their experience of the elections, their attitudes and behaviour, and ultimately the likelihood that they will participate in their democratic system. Within these discussions, this Policy Lab explored existing approaches, and discussed how to diagnose issues and limitations, identify best practice and develop solutions. Overall, it explored future strategies, potential synergies and areas for collaboration.
Professor Michael Bruter is Professor of Political Science at LSE and Director of the Electoral Psychology Observatory. He has developed a distinguished research profile in the sub-field of voters’ psychology, political behaviour, and political science research methods. Professor Bruter has been the recipient of over €5 million in research grants for frontier-breaking projects. Recent examples include a new ERC Advanced Grant to study electoral hostility, a ‘Proof of Concept’ grant to improve the satisfaction and turnout of first-time voters through field experiments in collaboration with Electoral Commissions, and a study of electoral psychology in over 20 countries. Professor Bruter has also served as expert witness on cases pertaining to voters’ psychology tried by the Irish High Court and Irish Supreme Court, and advised and worked with multiple Electoral Commissions. Professor Bruter’s latest book, co-authored with Dr Sarah Harrison and entitled Inside the Mind of a Voter, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2019. Professor Bruter has published several other books, and numerous other publications focused on topics within the fields of voters’ psychology, political behaviour, identity, and social science research methods.
Dr Sarah Harrison is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Government at the LSE and Deputy Director of the Electoral Hostility Observatory (ELHO). She is a leading scholar in the fields of political psychology, extreme right politics and youth political behaviour. Her recent publications include Youth Participation in Democratic Life (2016, with Cammaerts, Bruter, Banaji and Anstead), and articles in Comparative Political Studies, American Behavioural Scientist and Parliamentary Affairs. Dr Harrison’s research has been recognised by prestigious awards and honorable mentions from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Michael Young Award, and the political psychology section of the American Political Science Association. Dr Harrison has advised multiple Electoral Commissions worldwide and worked as an expert and authored reports for multiple prestigious international organisations, including the European Commission, Council of Europe, Committee of the Regions, the European Youth Forum, and All Parties Parliamentary Group on the Vote at 16 in the British Parliament.
Professor Bruter and Dr Harrison will return to Canberra at a later date to give a further Policy Lab on this topic.