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The Public Funding of Election Administration: Evidence from a British General Election

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alistair Clark



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Administering elections is costly, requiring considerable resourcing. The extent to which election administration is funded can reveal government priorities towards democratic rights and affects every potential voter. Yet, little is known of this crucial aspect of public administration, in any type of democracy. This research innovates by seeking to establish overall levels of variation in public funding of election administration in a national general election, and applying this to the local level to investigate whether socio-economic, administrative or political factors are more important as drivers of costs. The article deploys a unique dataset which integrates rare government election administration budgeting data, with Census and political data to provide an exploratory analysis from a British general election. It finds that key production costs of voting infrastructure appear to drive funding. While socio-economic and political aspects have less of an impact, levels of ethnic minority voters and regional effects also appear important determinants.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clark A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Studies Review

Year: 2024

Volume: 22

Issue: 2

Pages: 313-329

Print publication date: 01/05/2024

Online publication date: 13/01/2023

Acceptance date: 13/12/2022

Date deposited: 24/01/2023

ISSN (print): 1478-9299

ISSN (electronic): 1478-9302

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/14789299221148429


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