EU electoral law in need of uniformity? A comparative analysis of EU electoral law and US electoral law in
light of democratic legitimacy
PhD student: Mrs M. De Ridder
Promotor: Prof J. Wouters
Duration: 16/3/2020 - 15/3/2024
The European Union (EU) has only one democratically elected institution, namely the European Parliament. However, its democratic value has long been criticized and although the European Parliament has made big leaps forward in terms of its democratic legitimacy and its role in the decision-making process of the EU, some issues have remained. One of these issues is the fact that the rules that apply to European Parliament elections differ in all the European Member States and differences in voting age, voting obligations and voting ballots have resulted in unequal treatment of European citizens. The EU and legal scholarship currently seem to agree that European elections need to be Europeanised and harmonized across all the member states to bring an end to inequalities between citizens and to increase the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. But, will harmonization of electoral rules necessarily have the desired effect? The research project will determine whether harmonization of electoral rules should
necessarily result in more democratic legitimacy. The United States (US) is one of the longest standing democracies in the world, and yet the 50 different states all have diverging electoral rules. The research project aims to compare the electoral rules of the EU with those of the US in order to analyse the extent to which the EU can learn from the US experience with the goal of enhancing its own democratic legitimacy.