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Jørgen Elklit

Professor Emeritus

Profile photoJørgen Elklit
Department of Political Science and Government
Bartholins Allé 7, 1331, 222
8000, Aarhus C
E-mail: elklit@ps.au.dk
Phone: (+45) 87165583 (office, direct line) / (+45) 86545961 (residence)


Key qualifications:

Political scientist with specialization in electoral systems and administration, electoral behaviour, political party membership, and democratization. Has written extensively on these subjects as well as on electoral administration. Extensive experience since 1990 as an international advisor on elections and electoral systems in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Member of the South African Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) responsible for the conduct of the 1994 South African Parliamentary and Provincial Elections. Secretary to the Independent Review Commission (Kenya) April-September 2008. van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Professor at University of Cape Town 2014. 2017-2019: Academic convenor of Aarhus University's interdisciplinary MatchPoints Seminars.


1942Born in Frederiksværk, Denmark. Danish citizen
1970Graduate (history) from Aarhus University, Denmark
1970-99Research scholar, assistant professor, and associate professor, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University
1988Doctor of Political Science (dr.scient.pol.) Dissertation title: From Open to Secret Voting. Aspects of the Development of a Party System
1993Democratization and electoral support advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2000Professor of Political Science (political behaviour and political attitudes) at Aarhus University
2014van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Professor at the Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town
2017-19Academic convenor of Aarhus University's yearly MatchPoints Seminar


1970 Aarhus University's Gold Medal for Young Researchers

2004 Ten Years of Democracy Award (bestowed by the Electoral Commission of South Africa)

2012 The Erik Rasmussen Prize (bestowed by the Danish Political Science Association)

2013 Meningsmodig danske-prisen (bestowed by the FSB-organization)

2013 The Joe C. Baxter Award (bestowed by IFES, the International Foundation for Electoral System)

2014 20 Years of Electoral Democracy Award (bestowed by the Electoral Commission of South Africa)

2015 Aarhus University's BSS Faculty's Extraordinary Prize for Research Dissemination

2016 Aarhus University's Jubilee Foundation's Pris for Research Dissemination

Selected Board and Committee Memberships:

1993Member of the Goldstone Commission’s Panel Inquiring into the Curbing of Violence and Intimidation Before, During, and After the 1994 South African Elections
1994-97Member of the South African Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
1996-2009Member of the Board of Directors of the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa
1997Chairman of the OSCE Steering Board for out-of-country voting in connection with the municipal and RS Entity Elections in Bosnia & Herzegovina
1998-99Member of the High Representative’s International Advisory Board on a Permanent Electoral Law for Bosnia & Herzegovina
2002-03Member of the South African "Electoral Task Team" (ETT), mandated by the SA Cabinet to formulate new legislation for national and provincial elections
2006-10Board member: Aarhus University's Research Foundation
2014-18Member of ExCo (executive committee) of IPSA (International Political Science Association)

Selected Activities related to advisory work on elections and democratization, election administration, election observation abroad, democratization support etc.

1990-91On four occasions DANIDA democratization and election adviser in Nepal, assigned to the Electoral Commission in Kathmandu
1995-96(December/June) Member of the OSCE Election Field Assessment Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina; followed by membership of the joint ODIHR/IFES Electoral Code Working Group and the OSCE Election Advisory Group
1997-98(June/February) Head of Consultancy Mission: Review of Tanzania’s 1995 Electoral Process
2000(August 2000 - May 2002) International Expert Advisor to the Lesotho Independent Electoral Commission
2000(September) Head of Danida Project Identification Team (Yunnan Province, China). Also later visits to Yunnan Province under the same project
2003Member of the Joint IFES/Elections Canada Team travelling to Afghanistan to prepare issue papers for the planning process before the June 2004 elections
2003(June/July) Member of a joint UNPD/Danida team preparing a draft consolidated election law for the Lesotho IEC
2004(February) Expert advisor on the new electoral system for Afghanistan (working with IFES/Kabul and the UNMAG Electoral Unit)
2008(April-Sept.) Secretary to the Independent Review Commission (IREC) in Kenya


More than 20 books (including co-authored, edited, and co-edited volumes). Among these are:

Fra åben til hemmelig afstemning. Aspekter af et partisystems udvikling (From Open to Secret Voting: Aspects of the Development of a Party System), Aarhus: Politica, 1988.

Electoral Systems for Emerging Democracies: Experiences and Suggestions (edited); Copenhagen: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1997.

Partiernes medlemmer (Political Party Members), Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2003 (redigeret sammen med Lars Bille)

Gensyn med Sofavælgerne (The Abstaining Voters Revisited), Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2005 (sammen med Birgit Møller, Palle Svensson og Lise Togeby)

Challenges of Conflict, Democracy and Development in Africa, Johannesburg: EISA, 2007 (co-edited with Khabele Matlosa & Bertha Chiroro).

Duality by Design: The Iranian Electoral System, Washington DC: IFES, 2011. Lead author: Yasmin Alem, contributors: Jørgen Elklit and Mehrangiz Kar.

KV09. Analyser af kommunalvalget 2009 (Analyses of the 2009 Local Government Elections), Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2013 (redigeret sammen med Ulrik Kjær)

Det demokratiske system (The Democratic system (in Denmark)), København: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 4. udgave, 2016 (redigeret sammen med Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen)

KV13. Analyser af koomunalvalget 2013 (Analyses of the 2013 Local Government Elections), Odense: University of Southern Denmark, 2017 Press (co-edited with Christian Elmelund-Præstekær and Ulrik Kjær)

Valg [Elections], Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2017

Some recent articles:

(with Andrew Reynolds) "A Framework for the Systematic Study of Election Quality", Democratization, 12: 2 (2005), pp. 147-162.

(with Stig Thøgersen & Dong Lisheng) “Consultative Elections of Chinese Township Leaders: The Case of an Experiment in Ya’an, Sichuan”, China Information, 22: 1 (2008).

“The 2007 General Election in Lesotho: Abuse of the MMP System?”, Journal of African Elections, 7: 1 (June 2008), pp. 10-19.

(with Ulrik Kjær) “Split-ticket Voting in Times of Sub-national Government Reorganisation: Evidence from Denmark, Scandinavian Political Studies, 32: 4 (2009), pp. 422-439.

(with Ulrik Kjær) "Party politicisation of local councils: Cultural or institutional explanations for trends in Denmark, 1966-2005", European Journal of Political Research, 49 (2010), pp. 337-358.

(with Ulrik Kjær) "Local Party System Nationalisation: Does Municipal Size Matter?", Local Government Studies, 36:3 (2010), pp. 425-444.

"The Role of International Organisations During Electoral Crises: The Case of Kenya 2007-08", Representation, 47:4 (November 2011), pp. 399-415.

(with Ulrik Kjær) "The Impact of Assembly Size on Representativeness", The Journal of Legislative Studies, 20:2 (2014), pp. 156-173.

(with Frederick O. Wanyama, Bodil Folke Frederiksen and Preben Kaarsholm) "Ethnicity and/or Issues? The 2013 General Elections in Western Kenya", Journal of African Elections, 13: 3 (October 2014), pp. 169-195.

"Hvad nu, Sydafrika?" (What now, South Africa?), udenrigs, 2015:1, pp. 74-83.

(with Jens Blom-Hansen, Søren Serritzlew, Louise Riis Villadsen) "Ballot position and election results: Evidence from a natural experiment", Electoral Studies, 44 (December 2016), pp. 172-183.

(With Fred O. Wanyama) "Electoral violence duringe party primaries in Kenya", Democratization 2018. Published online January 31, 2018.

My articles have appeared in the following professional journals:

representation, Democratization, Journal of Democracy, China Information, Electoral Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Scandinavian Political Studies, Recherches Sociologiques, Universidad y Sociedad, Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Social Science History, Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, Politica, Historie, udenrigs, Den ny verden, Fortid og nutid, Sønderjysk Månedsskrift, Sønderjyske Årbøger, Økonomi og Politik, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, American Journal of Political Science, Forum for Development Studies, Party Politics, Local Government Studies, The Journal of Legislative Studies, and Journal of African Elections

Editorial Activities

Assistant editor of Scandinavian Political Studies Yearbook (1972)

Editorial board memberships: Politica (1978-1998), International Review of Political Science, Journal of African Elections, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Politikwissenschaft

Co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Danish Politics (in preparation)

Referee activities for a number of avcademic journals

The Elklit-Reynolds’ election administration quality index is available at: