A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with "Moderate" election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries.
The report, compiled earlier this year and published last month in the American Political Science Association's PS: Political Science and Politics journal, "aims to evaluate the quality of elections held around the world." It is the first of a planned annual series from the Electoral Integrity Project. The organization describes itself as "an independent non-profit scholarly research project based at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations, funded by the Australian Research Council and other research bodies."
The group aims to document "why elections fail and what we can do about it."
This year's assessments by 855 election experts around the world are indexed and included in the survey which covers "all national parliamentary and presidential elections held in independent nation-states (with a population of more than 100,000) over an eighteen month period from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2013."
"Based on a survey collecting the views of election experts, the research aims to provide independent and reliable evidence to compare whether countries meet international standards of electoral integrity," the report's introduction explains. "The study collects 49 indicators to compare elections and countries around the globe."
While the researchers found even worse problems in the elections of many younger countries, some of those nations still managed to out-perform the U.S. on the overall ranking, as we brought up the tail end of Western democratic nations, according to the experts' analysis, as described in one of bullet-points summarizing the report's findings [emphasis in original]...