By Dieter Nohlen
This quantity keeps the sequence of election information handbooks released through OUP. It provides the 1st ever compendium of electoral information for all 35 states within the Americas from their independence, or the creation of common male suffrage, to the current. Containing contributions from popular students, Elections within the Americas is a hugely authoritative source for old and cross-national comparisons of elections and electoral systems.
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Additional info for Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook Volume 1: North America, Central America, and the Caribbean
5 Primaries: Model USA Primary elections, using plurality in most of the states, are a peculiarity of the USA. They are especially important for constituencies, where, due to strongholds, only the candidate of one party has a realistic chance to win. In this case the real choice is made in the primaries. It has to be noted that primaries fulfill ambivalent functions in the USA. Historically, they prevented the equal treatment of Blacks as determined in the 15th constitutional amendment. Parties, as private organizations, were not bound to the requirements of constitutional equality.
The traditional local power, poverty, clientelism and corruption are likely to pose constant legal problems. Due to the low ethical standard of civil servants and the general mistrust in political institutions constant efforts are required to keep democracy running. 3% of the federal budget to organize elections. It is important to point out the civil society’s role in observing the elections. It controls the electoral processes in almost all countries now. The activities of civil society groups have largely contributed to the optimistic expectations concerning the democratic development of the region.
This change of importance is rooted in the different political cultures in the countries in transition. These countries were characterized by distrust in political institutions, especially in the incumbent state authority. This suspicion was caused by a long history of rigged elections. Free elections first required the elaboration of the institutional prerequisites for free and fair elections and for the legitimacy of the electoral result, particularly in regard to the losers. Two agents have been particularly active in this process: First, international organizations such as the UN, the OAS, and the Carter Center, and above all the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (IIDH) with its electoral division, the Center for Electoral Assistance and Training (CAPEL), ‘which played an important role in the diffusion and consolidation of standards of electoral practice and therefore in the enhancement of electoral bodies’ (López Pintor 2000: 99).
Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook Volume 1: North America, Central America, and the Caribbean by Dieter Nohlen