In this special issue, dedicated to "The Quality of Elections in Italy", the articles explore various aspects of the phenomenon.
As explained in the introduction, by Rombi and Venturino, the study of the quality of elections is spreading very rapidly. Integrity is defined by Pippa Norris as “to agreed-upon international conventions and universal standards about elections reflecting global norms applying to all countries worldwide throughout the electoral cycle, including during the pre-electoral period, the campaign, on polling day, and its aftermath”.
The measurement tools are based on the experts’ perceptions and on the objective data.
Regalia and Rombi focus on the quality of elections deepening the basic concept of “free and fair elections”, suggesting a theoretical and operational definition. So, the several dimensions that make up the concept and the procedures are combined into an additive index that measures the level of freedom and fairness of the elections.
Alessandra Ferrara, Giovanni Lombardo and Francesco Giovanni Truglia focus on non voting behaviour, exploring and explaining dynamics in time and space.
Particular emphasis is dedicated to involuntary abstentionism a component less studied compared to voluntary one.
Lastly Dario Tuorto stresses the “non-eligible voters” as a neglected category of contemporary democracies that are basically individuals with psycho-physical disabilities, convicted offenders, non-resident citizens (natives abroad), and non-citizen residents (immigrants). An heterogeneous situation, found in US and Europe too.
The systematic alienation or exclusion of certain social groups from elections raises a legitimacy problem for the quintessential moment of exercising democracy, in the presence of several barriers that make electoral results imperfect and at least partially distorted.
Enjoy your reading!