Election management bodies (EMBs) are the agencies and government departments tasked with the technical administration of elections, from registering voters to counting ballots. This talk will present a new approach to comparing election management bodies (EMBs) in cross-national perspective by measuring their capacity to deliver key services and perform their essential functions. It does so using three novel approaches: first, analysis of data from a collaborative organizational survey of election management bodies on organizational structure, personnel and budgets; second, a content analysis of EMB websites in 99 countries, capturing their provision of information, communication with stakeholders, and transparency with the public; and third, a small-scale test to determine whether EMBs that score high do actively communicate with their citizens. An application of these new measures of EMB capacity demonstrate the importance of EMB capacity in predicting overall electoral integrity, indicating its importance for future scholarly and policy research.
Holly Garnett is an Endeavour Research Fellow at The Australian National University and a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. She completed her PhD in Political Science at McGill University, where she was a student member of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. Her research examines how electoral integrity can be strengthened throughout the electoral cycle, including the role of election management bodies, electoral assistance, voter registration, convenience voting measures, election technologies, civic literacy and campaign finance. She is a co-convener of the Electoral Management Network, and contributes to Electoral Integrity Project. She has been a visiting researcher at the Åbo Akademi, Finland (2017) and the University of Sydney (2014), and a Killam Fellow at Cornell University (2009).