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Elite Statecraft and Election Administration: Bending the Rules of the Game? Hardcover – 31 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition, First Printing edition (31 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230308422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230308428
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,192,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Toby James has written an important book. Election administration has been a neglected subject but, as James demonstrates, by ignoring the intricacies of how elections are managed and run we are ignoring an important aspect of politics and power. As this well written and informative book demonstrates, the rules of elections affect the outcome and the book does an excellent job in drawing out attention to running of elections. It also highlights how, when thinking about constitutional reform we need to think about how citizens vote.' - Martin J. Smith, Professor, University of Sheffield, UK 
'Elite Statecraft and Election Administration presents an innovative integration of election administration and politics to present a framework for evaluating administrative arrangements and for explaining when these arrangements will change. This book is important for understanding cross-national variations in the ways in which elections are run.' - Thad Hall, Professor, University of Utah, USA

The book makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the politics of election administration. James makes a compelling case that election administration matters, that it can affect turnout or electoral outcomes, and that party elites seek to manipulate election administration to further their own interests. This is the first in-depth comparative examination of continuity and change in election administration in three different democracies (USA, UK, and Ireland). This is a masterful study.

André Blais
Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies
Université de Montréal

Book Description

Explores how, when and why politicians have reformed election administration for their own political interests

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Format: Hardcover
The study of electoral systems is the trainspotting of political science research, and the study of election administration is the most neglected and esoteric corner of electoral system research. However for candidates and agents the process of elections can throw up richer hypothetical conundrums than the "You Are the Ref" strip poses for football fans, with the Representation of the People Act (2000) their book of laws. Dr James' book exposes how electoral administration evolves shaped by crises, technology and, most importantly, the needs of those with their fingers on the pen that writes the rules.

James gives an excellent overview of the relevant literature, and in the introductory chapter links the issues to methodological debates and concepts in wider social science research. The book therefore provides the politics student grappling with an essay on electoral administration and a deadline the theoretical straw and citable clay to quickly mould some first-class bricks. James himself takes these bricks, in particular new institutional, constructivist and critical realist perspectives on institutional change to build a wall criticising the positivist/determinist assumption that electoral systems evolve to capture more accurately some exogenous democratic will that is out there in the population. Instead James argues that systems are socially shaped by the interacting needs and values of competing groups, with elites most influential in shaping the systems to suit their ends. This is an insightful and powerful argument that can be applied to all changes in British electoral procedures back to the Representation of the People Act (1832), and probably beyond.
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