Electoral Governance: More than Just Electoral Administration

Luis Eduardo Medina Torres, Edwin Cuitláhuac Ramírez Díaz

Abstract

The meaning of “electoral governance” is often equated with “electoral administration”. The process, however, can be divided into three distinct stages: 1) formation of regulatory bodies and norms; 2) implementation of these norms; and 3) dispute resolution. Given these three parts, electoral governance amounts to much more than just administration. In this article we explain why many academic studies of electoral governance have neglected the role of conflict resolution, focusing instead on the first two elements. In this way, electoral governance is mistakenly conceived as merely a mechanism for establishing regulatory bodies and rules. Our second goal is to show readers that electoral governance is a process that starts with the enactment of legislation, continues with administrative enforcement and judicial response, and concludes when the process returns to the beginning, either through judicial interpretation or recommendation by a legislative body. Our preliminary conclusion is that a proper understanding of electoral governance must take into account the role of conflict resolution, especially for disputed elections. Lastly, consideration must be given to a final phase which incorporates a cyclical conception explaining the returning process to the legislative dimension.

Keywords

elections; electoral governance; electoral bodies; political actors; electoral process

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