The latest report from the Electoral Integrity Project is as surprising as it is expected. The annual survey measuring the integrity of elections around the world (this year, surveying elections between 2012 and 2015, based on the opinions of 2,000 election experts worldwide across 49 categories) has found that western Europe scores high, Africa scores low, and that a host of other countries score very differently than you might think.
For starters, if you’re familiar with some of the more absurd US election laws, it may not surprise you that this year’s report finds that the US electoral system ranks lower than any other long-established democracy on Earth (and 47th out of 139 countries overall).
The country received its low marks due to poor performance in the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 congressional elections, mostly in terms of “the quality of the electoral laws, voter registration, the process of drawing district boundaries, as well as regulation of campaign finance.”
The report also finds that these trends are holding strong, if not getting worse, as the US moves closer to Election Day 2016.
Elsewhere, there were plenty of other grim findings to go around. Overall, the report determined that one in six elections last year did not meet international standards of electoral integrity. Additionally, 68 percent of all elections last year failed standards of campaign finance — the biggest problem area for elections worldwide — with media coverage the second biggest trouble spot.
That aside, the report did find some encouraging news (beyond high marks throughout northern and western Europe) including high marks for several developing democracies, particularly in Africa, including Benin and Lesotho. And while a large number of African nations still rank among the worst in the world, several (including Nigeria and Myanmar) have seen sizable gains over the last year.
See the full score sheet below: