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It’s the Family, Stupid? Not Quite…How Traditional Gender Roles Do Not Affect Women’s Political Ambition

August 21, 2014 Comments off

It’s the Family, Stupid? Not Quite…How Traditional Gender Roles Do Not Affect Women’s Political Ambition
Source: Brookings Institution

Following Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy announcement in April of 2014, media outlets speculated whether the future grandchild to Hillary Clinton would impact her potential presidential campaign in 2016. In this research paper, Jennifer Lawless addresses the question of whether family roles and responsibilities affect a potential candidate’s political career. Lawless analyzes both female and male candidates and finds that traditional roles and responsibilities have little influence on candidates’ decision to run for office.

Lawless conducted a study that examined the relationship between family arrangements and political ambition, looking specifically at whether being married, having children and having other household responsibilities affects the desire to run for office. She found that none of these variables had significant impact on candidacy considerations. While women’s numeric under-representation in politics is glaring, regardless of the level of office studied and the gender gap in political ambition among potential candidates is as large now as it was a decade ago, Lawless concludes that none of these disparities are influenced by family roles.

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CRS — The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues (July 31, 2014)

August 14, 2014 Comments off

The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

The deadlocked November 2000 presidential election focused national attention on previously obscure details of election administration. Even before the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the election in December, numerous bills to address the failings of the election system were introduced in Congress and state legislatures. The response at the federal level was the Help America Vote Act (HAVA; P.L. 107-252), enacted in 2002. HAVA created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), established a set of election administration requirements, and provided federal funding, but did not supplant state and local control over election administration. Several issues have arisen or persisted in the years since HAVA was enacted. This report provides background information about HAVA and its provisions, the EAC, funding for the agency and for state programs to improve elections, and a number of enduring election administration issues.

Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Election – CRS Insights (August 4, 2014)

August 14, 2014 Comments off

Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Election – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

On July 22, 2014, Indonesia’s Election Commission declared Joko Widodo, 53, the winner of Indonesia’s July 9 presidential election. The Election Commission reported that Widodo defeated former General Prabowo Subianto by more than 8 million votes in a bitterly contested election in which 135 million people—70% of registered voters—cast their ballots. Although Prabowo has filed a protest to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court alleging electoral fraud, political observers believe Widodo, popularly known as “Jokowi,” almost certainly will take office on October 10, becoming Indonesia’s second directly elected President.

Elections Matter 2014

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Elections Matter 2014
Source: Bread for the World Institute
From website:

The elections in 2014 (congressional) and 2016 (congressional and presidential) are vitally important to Bread for the World.

Bread wants to help end hunger by 2030, and to do that, it needs to help build the political will to make hunger a national priority by 2017.

Starting with this year’s elections, Bread hopes it can get a Congress and new president who are behind these goals.

This summer and fall, during the campaigns leading up to the 2014 mid-term congressional elections, Bread is asking its members all over the country to engage all candidates on hunger and poverty issues.

Increasing Turnout in Congressional Primaries

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Increasing Turnout in Congressional Primaries
Source: Brookings Institution

Elaine Kamarck argues that the best way to lessen political polarization and increase voter turnout is to establish a national primary day. This paper is a wide-ranging look at how to reform the primary nominating and electoral system so as to alleviate today’s increasing polarization and subsequent governance stalemate.

CRS — Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (updated)

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

The capacity, transparency, legitimacy, and cohesiveness of Afghan governance are crucial to Afghan stability as U.S.-led NATO forces exit Afghanistan by 2016. The size and capability of the Afghan governing structure has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001, but the government remains weak and rife with corruption. Hamid Karzai has served as president since late 2001; he is constitutionally term-limited and will leave office after the conclusion of presidential and provincial elections. The first round of took place on April 5, 2014, and the results required a June 14 runoff between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

The runoff increased ethnic tensions between Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest group represented by Ghani, and the second largest group the Tajiks, with whom Abdullah is identified. Amid accusations by Abdullah of a fraud-inspired large increase in turnout between the two rounds, preliminary results released July 7 showed Ghani ahead 56% to 44%. With Abdullah’s supporters urging him to declare himself the winner and form a government, Secretary of State Kerry visited Afghanistan to broker a July 12 resolution of the dispute. Under the agreement, all 23,000 ballot boxes would be recounted under international supervision, and the winner of the election would agree to appoint the loser as a “chief executive” of government, pending a more permanent constitutional alteration to a prime ministerial system. The recount has proceeded more slowly than expected due to distrust between the two camps and there are differing expectations for the post-election power-sharing agreement. The vote count might not be completed and a new president sworn in until well into September 2014.

The 2014 European Parliament Elections: Outcomes and Implications – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

The 2014 European Parliament Elections: Outcomes and Implications – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Between May 22-25, 2014, the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) held elections for the next European Parliament (EP), a key institution that represents the citizens of the EU countries. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) serve five-year terms. The new EP, which began work on July 1, 2014, has 751 MEPs from 186 national parties (for background, see CRS Report RS21998, The European Parliament).

The recent EP elections are notable for several reasons. They were the first since the entrance into force of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, which increased the power of the EP. The Treaty also explicitly links the EP elections to the selection of the next President of the European Commission (the EU’s executive). Although the leaders of the member states still decide on the next Commission President, the treaty now requires that they take into account the results of the EP elections. Thus, for the first time, five of the EP’s main political groups nominated candidates for Commission President.

Additionally, Europe’s recent economic and financial crisis has contributed to the rise of anti-EU or “euroskeptic” parties in several EU countries. Many of these parties—which are predominantly nationalistic, populist, and on the far right, although a few are on the far left—made gains in the EP elections, with potential implications for the functioning of the EU and for certain issues in U.S.-EU relations.

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