Electoral System Design Database

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About the Database


The Electoral System Design Database is comprised of various reviews of the electoral legislation of countries from around the world. The database research was sourced from national legal documents from different sources, including the official web portals of governments, regional organizations that work in the area of democracy and electoral processes, and research institutes specialized in the area of elections and politics in general.

You can also view a table of the electoral systems worldwide, which provides information on the country electoral system, the electoral system family, the tier, the legislature size and the electoral system used for the president.

The database, which takes information from the Handbook of Electoral System Design, allows users to select countries and specific fields of data. They can then view the information graphically or export it.

The choice of electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy. Electoral systems define and structure the rules of the political game; they help determine who is elected, how a campaign is fought, the role of political parties, and most importantly, who governs. Furthermore, the choice of an electoral system can help to "engineer" specific outcomes, such as to encourage cooperation and accommodation in a divided society. Historically, however, it has been rare that electoral systems are deliberately chosen or carefully designed for the particular historical and social conditions of a country. In some cases, the choice has reflected the impact of colonialism; in others, the influence of neighbouring systems.


The initial data on electoral systems was gathered for the Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook published by International IDEA in 2005. A group of researchers conducted desk research to review the electoral legislation of countries around the world. The national legal documents were compiled from different sources, including the official web portals of governments, regional organizations that work in the area of democracy and electoral processes, and research institutes specialized in the area of elections and politics in general. In very few cases, when legal documents on elections-related issues were not available for some countries, the researchers contacted the national electoral management body (EMB) of those countries in order to obtain the necessary data. These data were then analyzed and informed decisions were made on the electoral system design of each country as well as other related information provided in the handbook.

The data gathered for Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook were later transferred to the Electoral System Design section of International IDEA’s Global Database on Elections and Democracy (a compilation of IDEA’s key databases brought together under one common interface). Since the transfer of the data, several updates have been made based on feedBack by database users.

  • We conduct regular desk research and periodic global studies, which involve regional researchers and organizations that contribute the most current data on new regional developments.
  • We invite researchers and practitioners working in the area of elections to contribute to the update of our electoral system design database. If users note that the database has missing data, or if they find data that is incorrect, missing sources or requires more explanation, users can use the edit icon next to the data or click on the data in the preview window, and fill in the “Edit data” form. We will review the submission as soon as possible and update the database if the data suggested is correct.


The database was created by International IDEA to store, update and analyze data from more than 10 years of research. The community is encouraged to use the information and help us to improve existing entries and keep the database up to date.
The data has been collected by International IDEA and its partners during previous and ongoing projects. We are now encouraging the community to assist in the maintenance of the data, but will approve all submissions and check accuracy and sources wherever possible.
Most pages showing data include an edit icon that will take you to an edit page. Here you can edit the current data, add new data for a different year or simply add a comment, link or an additional source.
To make sure that real people are editing data, we require a valid email address. The first time you make an edit from a computer, we send a verification email that then stores a special code in a cookie. Any other edits you make from that computer are connected to that same email address.
Each of the thematic pages has a list of example queries that cover common searches of interest. You can also choose to select all countries and all fields to view and export all the data for that theme. Currently there is no option to export all the data from the entire database at once.


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