Elections Worldwide

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.


Elections in Europe

Elections in the Middle East and Africa

Elections in the Americas

  • Proportional Representation in Trinidad and Tobago

    October 17, 2013

    Trinidad and Tobago has always elected its legislature using a winner-take-all system, but a new bill is bringing proportional representation to the island nation. 

  • Electoral Reform on the Move in Canada

    April 16, 2013

    From a poll showing widespread support for proportional representation to the Liberal Party leadership elections held using ranked choice voting to the growing movement for ranked choice voting in Toronto, things are looking up for electoral reform in Canada.

  • Mexico's Divisive Presidential Election System

    June 19, 2012

    With Mexican voters set to go to the polls on July 1, the country's three-party system combined with its winner-take-all presidential elections create a recipe for popular discontent with no end in sight.

Elections in Asia and Oceania

  • Reforming the Australian Senate

    June 6, 2014

    Australia's Senate is elected by a method of ranked choice voting that forces voters to rank every candidate on the ballot. But after a variety of quirky minor parties have made their way into the Senate, it might be time to allow voters the freedom to not rank all candidates.

  • Indian Election Results In BJP Victory, Disproportionality

    May 21, 2014

    In India's election of the 16th Lok Sabha, the BJP appeared to win a landslide victory, winning a majority of seats. In reality, India's winner-take-all system generated significant disproportionality, artificially inflating BJP's mandate.

  • Elections in India and Indonesia Highlight Differences Between Electoral Systems

    April 29, 2014

    India and Indonesia both held major elections this month. One country uses winner-take-all, the other proportional representation. That choice makes a difference.