In the United States, the predominant election administrators are county clerks elected as partisan elected officials, and state level secretaries of state, who are elected as partisan elected officials.

Moreover, in the event of a disputed federal election in the United States, partisan elected officials in Congress are the ultimate arbiters of those disputes.

Are there any other countries which vest election administration primarily in partisan elected officials, and if so, which ones?

  • Would it be better to have it run by partisan people who are not elected? I think it would be very hard to remove the politics out of running elections and no matter what you will end up with partisan people in charge of them.
    – Joe W
    Jan 12, 2022 at 18:24
  • @JoeW The usual method is to have elections either administered by civil servants selected on the basis of a merit system of hiring who are insulated from elected officials with, for example, protections from being fired without cause, or to have it administered by civil servants selected by a board that is designed to have equitable partisan balance so that bipartisan/multipartisan agreement is necessary to appoint the official who then appoints other election administrators and makes key decisions. Elected officials, unlike partisan appointees, administer elections in which they participate.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 12, 2022 at 19:26
  • Sure but that doesn't mean you won't be getting partisans into those positions, just look at the current postmaster general in the US and how it became a very political position and the current office holder appears to be wanting to destroy the post office system.
    – Joe W
    Jan 12, 2022 at 19:49
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    The US seems to have an unusually high degree of "it shouldn't be done if it's not an elected position". For example, medical experts are pushed back against because they're not elected. On the other hand, US judges are often elected. What seems to be missed is that positions requiring high degree of skills aren't enabled by a popularity contest. And in the case of elections, it seems like a really bad idea to hand the reigns over to a party. Last getting elected doesn't mean no corruption: nytimes.com/2021/05/17/us/politics/… Jan 13, 2022 at 4:06
  • 1
    In England and Wales, the ceremonial administrators of elections are returning officers who are often partisan elected figures (e.g. councillors for a particular party serving as mayor or local authority chairperson), but in practice they delegate most of the functionality to a council officer who is a non-partisan civil servant.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 13, 2022 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


One example is the People's Republic of China. Essentially all aspects of elections are run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Elections are held at local levels to pick the representatives of the local People's Congress. These bodies then elect mayors, governors, and other similar office holders. And they also elect the reps to go to the next higer level of People's Congress. This heirarchy spans the entire country up to the national People's Congress.

The CCP tightly controls the nomination and election process at every level. This extends to, among other things, not allowing specific individuals to run for or hold office. There is also tight control over speech and the media such that messages deemed unacceptable are strongly suppressed.

  • 2
    I had been thinking about countries with meaningful multi-candidate elections, but I don't disagree that you are correct.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 12, 2022 at 21:13
  • 1
    America's proudest moment: "Our elections are run like China's". Jan 31, 2022 at 21:53

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