Rebuilding trust in electoral institutions

Image: Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 29 November 2022


Seminar Room 1.04 Coombs Extension Building #8 Fellows Road ANU


Therese Pearce Laanela


RegNet Communications

With a backdrop of relentless political pressure and external threats, electoral management bodies (EMBs) are adopting new strategies and tactics for building trust in response to new risks and dynamics of fragility. From the United States to the Pacific, EMBs seek to incorporate trust-building practices and mechanisms such as radically transparent ballot handling and biometric voter identification into their operational structures. Thwarting these innovative efforts, however, is the stark reality that – when organising elections - political agitation and tensions run high precisely when operational demands are at peak. Unique to electoral management, the twin pressures of complex logistics and high stakes create difficult and often impossible situations for electoral authorities to navigate with their reputation intact.

Anchored in recent research that extends institutional trust theory to electoral institutions, this seminar will present a range of trust-building pathways relevant to EMBs and beyond. Providing a social perspective to what has been seen as a technical and administrative problem, these pathways place emphasis on the relational dimensions of service, on values-based communication, and on recognition of stakeholder needs for certainty and clear pathways for redress.

About the speakers

Therese Pearce Laanela has 30 years of electoral experience ranging from working with post-conflict elections in Africa, Europe, and Asia to developing global policy and tools via organizations such as the OSCE, the European Union, and the United Nations. She currently heads the Electoral Processes team at International IDEA, a democracy-focused inter-governmental organisation based in Stockholm.

Her ANU RegNet PhD thesis Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Institutions extends institutional trust-building theory to encompass and be practically relevant to electoral authorities, describing a broader range of pathways for trust-building policy and practice that emphasize the socio-relational dimensions of electoral work.

This seminar is Therese’s final presentation of her doctoral candidature.

COVID protocols

The ANU strongly encourages you to keep a mask with you at all times (for use when COVID-19 safe behaviours are not practicable) and to be respectful of colleagues, students and visitors who may wish to continue to wear one. Please continue to practice good hygiene. If you are unwell, please stay home. The ANU’s COVID Safety advice can be accessed here.

This seminar presentation will be in-person only.

Image credit: Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet