This three-year design study will assess the feasibility of providing an infrastructure for research into citizenship, political participation, and electoral democracy in the European Union (EU). Such an infrastructure would endow the social science community with the most essential information required for a recurrent audit of the most important aspects of the electoral process in the European Union. Since elections are crucial instruments of popular control, elite accountability, and popular representation, auditing these processes is seen as good practice in a number of democracies. Such audits empirically assess the nature of electoral processes and detect challenges and threats to the quality of these processes. The infrastructure project that we propose to design focuses on data which, if not collected at the time of an election, will either be lost or will be recorded in a manner incompatible with the way in which other relevant data have been recorded, making the complete picture unavailable for future research. At the EU’s supra-national level, democratic rules and procedures are not yet well established and the institutions of multi-level governance are repeatedly renegotiated and adapted. Auditing the quality of the electoral process at the EU-level is therefore essential. Such an audit would involve the activities of parties (and candidates), mass media and voters. Scholarly evaluations of electoral processes at the EU level have been hampered until now by the lack of co-ordination in the collection of empirical information on which such evaluations are based. The current proposal seeks to change this, and to provide an infrastructure that organizes the necessary coordination and collects a comprehensive empirical database for use by the social science community interested in electoral democracy in Europe. We will investigate the infrastructure’s feasibility by means of a pilot study conducted in the context of the 2009 European Parliament elections.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP - Collaborative project (generic)