A sign reading "POLLING STATION" is placed outside a building on a quiet street in Ireland, with several parked cars, ensuring the scene contributes to improved electoral integrity.

Ireland has moved to improve electoral integrity – other countries should follow suit

Throughout the world, there have been concerns democracy has been ‘backsliding’ and that electoral integrity is under threat. A Summit for Democracy was hosted by the United States in December last year to ‘set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies’. Countries have been asked to make commitments to how they will improve democracy and elections.

The Irish government committed to establishing an independent statutory Electoral Commission. Academic research on electoral integrity and international best practices are clear that those involved in running and regulating elections should be independent from those standing from elections. However, many countries retain a system whereby government minsters have considerable control over electoral watchdogs, which compromises their independence. When Ireland gained independence from Britain, it established a system whereby elections were in the portfolio of a government minister and department – most recently the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.


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