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Democratic Theory and Election Law

David Schultz
Hamline University
United States

In free societies, election law serves to put democratic values into practice, enabling the people to govern themselves through elections. Appropriate election law rules, if enacted and enforced, can help support and sustain democracies. This paper examines the relationship between democratic theory and practice, and formal constitutional structures, asking how specific constitutional clauses and provisions promote or support democracies. Using classifications and information from several databases such as the Comparative Constitutions Project, Transparency International, and Freedom House, this paper looks at some specific constitutional provisions regarding election law promote democracy. The conclusion is that formal clauses alone do not guarantee regimes will be democracies, but that more is required if election laws can translate democratic values into democratic practices.



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