The structure of elections and a nation's choice of electoral system can have profound implications for the effectiveness of democratic governance. It is no surprise, then, that reformers in many nations continuously strive to improve the way their governments are elected. Most countries regularly reflect on how well their systems are working and consider structural improvements--and such changes are implemented more often than many casual observers may realize.
FairVote analyzes elections worldwide in an effort to illustrate the great variety of electoral systems that are already being used successfully and the wide array of reforms that are under consideration. While no one system is a panacea for every nation's electoral ills, FairVote applies its principles of fair representation and meaningful choices for all voters to recommend solutions to fledgling and well-established democracies alike.
Cataloged below are the extensive reports and blogs that FairVote has produced studying recent international elections.
International Presidential Elections
In elections with one winner--for example, an executive office such as president--we support majority voting systems, whether by a traditional runoff election or by instant runoff voting. Majority systems are the norm in nations with presidential elections, as revealed in our 2006 report.
International Legislative Elections
For legislative elections, we believe non-winner-take-all voting methods--whether they be fully proportional representation systems or systems balancing proportionality with geographic representation--most reliably provide voter choice, fair representation and accountability. As Professor Mark Jones of Rice University has demonstrated, proportional methods are used by most robust democracies in the world today. But the unique political contexts of each country matter, and we believe that it is crucial to study these details closely before prescribing any particular electoral reform.
See FairVote's interactive map of the electoral systems used by the lower houses of the world's legislatures here.