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

  • The 2015 Turkish Election: A More Proportional Result than Usual

    June 26, 2015

    Turkish general election 2015 Labour Party Turkey cropped

    The Turkish election in June 2015 was remarkable for many reasons. In this short piece, FairVote's Robert Buderi explores the ins and outs of the 2015 campaign and the operation of Turkey's party list proportional system. Buderi shows that a high national threshold in a proportional representation system tends to undermine the proportionality of election results and introduce some of the problems rife in winner-take-all plurality systems like the US and Britain. 

  • Choice Voting vs. The Challengers: The Irish Convention on the Constitution Decides

    August 7, 2013

    The Irish Constitutional Convention was tasked with finding the best electoral system for Ireland, and all options were on the table. They decided to stick with the choice voting form of fair representation, with only 3 percent preferring U.S.-style single-member districts.




  • Irish Convention Recommends Lowering the Voting Age

    July 8, 2013

    The Irish Convention of the Constitution has recommended that Ireland become the 18th nation in the world to allow people under 18 years old to vote - a reform that is also gaining traction on the local level in the U.S.

Elections in the Middle East and Africa

Elections in the Americas

  • Millions of 16- and 17 years olds vote in Brazilian Presidential Election, but no President Elected

    October 23, 2014

    Rousseff and Neves general election October 2014Brazilians flocked to the polls on October 5, 2014, to vote for their next president. Yet, after all the votes were counted, no one was elected. This blog entry briefly explores the use of runoff elections in Brazil before discussing the growing worldwide movement to repeat Brazil's enfranchisement of  16 and 17 year olds.

  • Continuing Electoral Reforms in Trinidad and Tobago

    September 15, 2014

    2010 Election Map

    Hot on the heels of electoral reforms last year, small Caribbean island nation Trinidad and Tobago has abandoned plurality voting in favor of runoff voting in its national elections. FairVote is keeping close watch on Trinidad and Tobago, as political parties, legislators and citizens continue to discuss voting systems, including ranked choice voting and fair representation voting, and agitate for reform.

  • 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. 

Elections in Asia and Oceania

  • Strangeness of a One-Party Majority in New Zealand

    September 26, 2014

    NZ Ballot PaperAt the end of an unusual election campaign, New Zealand's Mixed-Member Proportional Representation (MMP) electoral system has delivered Kiwis a strong mandate for the current government, with the first time a single party has  won a majority of seats  since the nation replaced  U.S.-style plurality voting elections with MMP in 1993. The election also demonstrated many of the advantages that such fair representation voting systems have over the single-member plurality systems so often used in American elections. 

  • Ethnic Minorities and Proportional Representation in Myanmar

    September 5, 2014

    256px Burma By Election 2012Having tentatively thrust off their military dictatorship, Myanmar actively debates adopting Proportional Representation for its legislature. 

    (Photo Credit: Htoo Tay Zar, Wikicommons)

  • 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.