Professor Michael Pal has been awarded an Insight Development Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a project entitled “The Guardians of Democracy: The Comparative Constitutional Law of Election Commissions”.
The project will support a book that examines the constitutional law and politics of election commissions. Election commissions interpret and apply the laws, rules, and procedures that structure elections and that guide the behaviour of political parties, candidates, and other regulated actors. They have been central players in legal and political dramas ranging from the 2018 dispute about who formed the legitimate government in Sri Lanka, to the disputed Mexican election result of 2006, to controversies around the fairness of recent Kenyan elections, and even to controversies in Canada. The presence of an effective election commission, operating in a non-partisan fashion and independent from government, is the gold standard in contemporary democratic practice.
Currently, there is no book that addresses election commissions from the perspective of comparative constitutional law. As a recognized expert who has been invited to provide advice to Elections Canada and several provincial election commissions, Professor Pal is perfectly suited to fill this gap. His book will provide the first detailed study of why election commissions are and should be seen as important constitutional actors.
The SSHRC insight Program aims to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence.
Congratulations to Professor Pal!