The super election year 2024

Election dates worldwide: Who votes and how fair are the elections?

Clean Elections Index (2023)

Chart on the status of the integrity of elections in 2023
Figure 1 shows the state of electoral integrity in 2023 based on the Clean Elections Index. The Clean Elections Index measures the extent to which elections are free and fair, i.e., without registration fraud, systematic irregularities, intimidation of the opposition, vote buying and electoral violence.

In the super election year 2024, more than four billion people worldwide will cast their vote. Numerous elections are being held around the world, among them the European elections in June and the presidential election in the United States in November. Elections are crucial for democracy and shape the political future of a country. However, elections are not free and independent in all countries, as the Clean-Elections-Index shows.

The Clean Elections Index rates how fair elections are in certain regions of the world on a scale of 0 to 1. The index takes into account fairness, equality in the electoral process and protection against electoral fraud. In Western Europe, North America, South America and the Pacific region, elections are predominantly free. Countries in the Middle East and Africa, in particular, show deficits. Both there and in parts of Asia, the Clean Elections Index is only between 0.1 and 0.5. This picture has hardly changed since the 2000s.

The Election Vulnerability Index rates how independent digital media are in certain countries and how they are protected. The study analyses 81 countries. The situation is particularly precarious in countries with autocratic governments. Disinformation and state control of online information are particularly pronounced in countries with a poor score (such as Russia). But even in the USA, there are problems protecting digital media from cyber-attacks.

The Election Vulnerability Index also sheds light on the human rights situation in the respective countries. Germany scores an excellent 89 out of 100 points, putting it ahead of the USA with 78 points. Iceland leads the ranking with 91 points.

Read more about the election situation in the V-Dem Institute's Elections Report and in the article Election Watch for the Digital Age by Freedom House.

Date Country Type Voters
2024-04-19 –
India Parliamentary Election 891,934,297
2024-06-06 –
European Election Parliamentary Election 350,000,000
2024-11-05 USA Presidential Election 258,672,483
2024-02-14 Indonesia Parliamentary and
Presidential Election
2024-02-08 Pakistan Parliamentary Election 130,632,404
2024-03-15 –
Russia Parliamentary Election 113,590,588
2024-01-07 Bangladesh Parliamentary Election 106,777,785
2024-06-02 Mexico Parliamentary Election 90,157,073
2024-03-01 Iran Parliamentary Election 60,905,788
2024-06-30 France Parliamentary Election 48,953,984
2024-07-04 United Kingdom Parliamentary Election 47,587,254
2024-04-10 South Korea Parliamentary Election 43,814,504
2024-05-29 South Africa Parliamentary Election 37,372,792
2024-09-07 Algeria Presidential Election 27,992,084
2024-04 Peru Parliamentary and
Presidential Election
2024-07-28 Venezuela Presidential Election 21,502,096
2024-01-13 Taiwan Presidential Election and Election of the Legislative Yuan 19,454,487
2024-12 Romania Parliamentary Election 17,663,694
2024-12-07 Ghana Parliamentary and
Presidential Election
NA Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 16,531,050
2024-10-09 Mozambique Parliamentary Election 13,554,684
2024-06-09 Belgium Parliamentary Election 9,261,362
2024-02-04 Mali Parliamentary Election 8,920,714
2024-03-10 Portugal Parliamentary Election 8,584,844
NA Tunesia Presidential Election 8,219,612
2024-02-25 Senegal Parliamentary Election 8,071,074
2024-02-25 Belarus Parliamentary Election 7,716,337
2024-02-07 Azerbaijan Presidential Election 7,363,739
2024-05-19 Dominican Republic Parliamentary Election 7,103,584
2024-07-15 Rwanda Parliamentary Election 6,397,743
2024-04-16 Slovakia Parliamentary Election 4,462,884
2024-01-28 Finland Presidential Election 4,450,638
NA South Sudan Parliamentary Election 4,442,454
2024-04-13 Togo Parliamentary Election 4,382,547
2024-02-04 El Salvador Presidential Election 4,314,785
2024-10-26 Georgia Presidential Election 3,722,111
2024-04-17 Croatia Presidential Election 3,525,417
2024-05-05 Panama Parliamentary Election 2,661,314
2024 Autumn Moldova Presidential Election 2,634,786
2024-10-27 Uruguay Parliamentary Election 2,564,637
2024-11-30 Mauritius Parliamentary Election 2,444,729
2024-06-22 Mauritania Presidential Election 2,184,439
2024-06-28 Mongolia Parliamentary Election 2,179,634
2024-05-08 North Macedonia Parliamentary Election 1,713,004
2024-10-06 Lithuania Parliamentary Election 1,506,400
2024-11-27 Namibia Parliamentary Election 1,479,603
2024-10 Botswana Parliamentary Election 1,444,142
2024-02-14 Comoros Presidential Election 947,898
2024-06-01 Iceland Presidential Election 266,312
2024-04 Solomon Islands Parliamentary Election 35,361
2024-12 San Marino Parliamentary Election 27,790
2024-11-12 Palau Parliamentary Election 16,518
Total: 2,603,344,920

Please note: The Croatian elections have already been postponed to Dec. 2024. According to schedule, however, the elections should have taken place on 17 April 2024
Source: Deutscher Bundestag

Election Vulnerability Index















Sri Lanka










South Korea






South Africa




United Kingdom







Avoiding democratic backsliding

Why elections also make a difference in autocratic systems

The victory of democratic forces in elections in authoritarian regimes shows that political change is possible. But how can democratic parties be successful in such countries?

Robust coalitions of different opposition groups and democratic parties have the best chance of winning against an authoritarian government. A broad alliance is more decisive than a small group with similar opinions. Such coalitions often only form when democracy is already in danger. Freedom of the press plays an important role. In autocratic regimes, parts of the press often serve as a mouthpiece for those in power. As a result, broad coalitions between parties from different political spectrums are less likely to be formed in countries with a high level of press freedom.

The recent elections in Poland are a good example of the power of such coalitions. The opposition was able to prevail against the incumbent PiS party, which had previously massively restricted both the freedom of the press and the independence of the courts.

Even with severe democratic restrictions – such as no freedom of the press – opposition parties were able to win elections. Democratic coalitions have also succeeded in overthrowing the government in countries with unfree elections. One example is Gambia in 2016: challenger Adama Barrow won the presidential elections, which led to the first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1965.

More information on this topic can be found in the article Bet on Big-Tent Opposition Electoral Coalitions to Defeat Democratic Backsliding by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


How important is the EU
to first time voters?

What young voters think about the EU

Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU
Statistics on the views of first-time voters on the work of the EU

The European elections in June 2024 will be setting a trend for how the EU positions itself politically in the future. The number of first time voters has seen a large increase with the lowering of the voting age to 16 years. A good reason to take a closer look at this target group‘s views on the EU.

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung examined how important the EU is to young people in a representative survey. It focused on the attitude of first time voters toward the EU. The results of the 16–22-year-olds were compared to the views of all those surveyed.

All respondents clearly showed a positive attitude towards the EU and its work. 81 percent of the 16-22-year-olds and 76 percent of all respondents said the EU membership was a “good thing”. Continuation of membership also meets with broad approval. 86 per cent of 16-22 year-olds and 87 per cent of all respondents are in favour of continued EU membership. The group of first-time voters is not only interested in the benefits of EU membership for Germany, but also for other countries. 64 per cent of 16-22-year-olds “completely” and “somewhat” agree with the statement “Regardless of the benefits for Germany, supporting other EU countries is the right thing to do".

The question of whether the EU is important to first-time voters can clearly be answered in the affirmative. An overwhelming majority of 86 per cent of 16-22 year olds disagree with the statement ‘I don't really care about the EU’, which is a positive sign for the EU and its work.

Another study of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, “Stadt, Land, … Unterschiede?” looks at the distribution of different “types of Europeans” by city and countryside. The percentage of pro-Europeans in large cities is 61 per cent. In rural areas, this figure is only 51 per cent. However, more than half of respondents in both rural and urban areas are pro-European. Overall, at 58 per cent, the proportion of pro-Europeans is also higher than the proportion of pragmatists and populists.

Read more in two Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’ studies: Meine 1. Europawahl published in March 2024 and Stadt, Land, … Unterschiede? published in April 2024.


Voting from 16:
A great opportunity?

New studies show democratic effects

Boy rides past a voting box on a skateboard and drops his voting paper into the box

The topic of “voting from the age of 16” has also been under discussion in Germany for quite a while. In federal states such as Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, 16-year-olds can already vote in local and state elections. But what opportunities and advantages does “voting from 16” offer for democracy?

Thorsten Faas, Professor of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin, analysed this in a study conducted by the Otto-Brenner-Stiftung Among others, 5,105 Berliners between the ages of 15 and 20 were surveyed for the study. The study shows that young people are much happier to vote in federal elections than in local elections. Just under 60 percent of 15-20-year-olds awarded the highest possible score in terms of enjoying their participation in federal elections. This result clearly shows that young people would also like to see the voting age for federal elections lowered.

In Berlin, 16-year-olds cannot vote in local, state or federal elections. They can, however, vote in elections to the district councils (BVV) at the age of 16. A very complicated system that has led to confusion not only among young people. For example, 20 per cent of 16-17-year-olds thought they were eligible to vote in the federal elections, even though they were not.

The Bertelsmann-Stiftung’s paper Wie Wählen ab 16 die Demokratie stärken kann comes to a similar conclusion. It criticises the fact that the differences between the voting options for 16 and 17-year-olds violate equal voting rights and discriminate against young people on the basis of their age.

Read more in the study Coming of voting age. Evidence from a natural experiment on the effects of electoral eligibility by Thorsten Faas and in the Jugendwahlstudie der Otto-Brenner-Stiftung. The Bertelsmann Foundation has summarised further arguments in favour of a lower voting age in its paper Wie Wählen ab 16 die Demokratie stärken kann (How voting from 16 can strengthen democracy).

Map of Germany with all federal states and details of the minimum voting age required there.

To vote or not to vote: vote!

Development of voter turnout in the European elections

1979 2019 2024
Infographic on the development of voter turnout in European elections in the European member states 1979
Infographic on the development of voter turnout in European elections in the European member states 2019
Infographic on the development of voter turnout in European elections in the European member states 2024

The EU has a strong influence on politics and life in Germany. Nevertheless, voter turnout is often lower than in federal elections. In bpb's “Kurz & Knapp” format, experts analyse the turnout in the last European elections.

Participation in European elections in Germany was alarming. It dropped from 66 per cent in the first elections in 1979 to 43 per cent in 2004. In 2019, the rate rose again to 61 percent, a positive trend that can be seen in many member states. EU-wide, the rate has increased by 8 percentage points to 51 per cent compared to 2014.

In Germany, the young generation is showing great interest in the EU. In 2019, almost 20 per cent more 18 to 20-year-olds voted in the election than in 2014. There were similar developments among 21-24 and 25-29-year-olds. The increase was weaker in the older age groups.

In Belgium and Luxembourg, voter turnout is over 80 per cent, as voting is formally compulsory there. Failure to do so can result in fines. This obligation also exists in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece, but is rarely enforced there. In Belgium and Luxembourg, however, turnout remains high, but does the low voter turnout play into the hands of Eurosceptic parties? This is the question the essay Europa der Regionen? explores. There is indeed a correlation. Eurosceptic parties tend to have fewer chances in countries with a high voter turnout. In the European capitals, the share of votes for Eurosceptic parties is relatively low. It was not possible to establish a clear automatism, which is why it is important to take a nuanced look at the member states.

For more information, see the articles Wahlbeteiligung und Briefwahl of the Federal Agency for Civic Education and Europa der Regionen? of the German Economic Instistute (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft).


Does money rule the USA?

What influence does money have on the US election

Infographic on the spending of the top candidates in the US election campaign

The world will be watching the presidential election in the USA in 2024. The world's largest economy will be electing a new president. In view of the wars and conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, the USA plays an important role. In the run-up to the elections, however, many studies are focussing on the question of how big a role money plays in the US election campaign.

The Federal Election Comission in the USA has compared the spending of the Democrats and Republicans. The Republicans have spent 278 million US dollars in the election campaign so far, more than twice as much as the Democrats. However, if you take a closer look at the spending of the two parties, it is noticeable that the Democrats have spent more money on their candidate, President Joe Biden, than the Republicans have on Donald Trump. This is partly due to the fact that Trump was not the Republican frontrunner from the outset and some campaign funds also went to other Republicans. For example, USD 49 million was spent on Nikki Haley's campaign during the primaries. For the Democrats, on the other hand, President Biden was as good as a foregone conclusion from the outset, which is why only around USD 7 million was spent on Dean Phillips. In total, just under USD 409 million has been spent on the election campaign so far.

The Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) (Federal Agency for Civic Education) examines the significance money plays in the election campaign in its article Die Rolle von Geld im US-Wahlkampf. Donations are concentrated on a few wealthy individuals who thus wield great influence. The increase in campaign donations leads to a lack of transparency for voters. This can lead to a loss of trust in the government and elections. MPs often spend more time fundraising than on their parliamentary duties.

All the same, the candidate with the most money does not always win. Presidential elections in particular show that at a certain point, higher spending no longer has a decisive influence. Campaign donations are important, but not decisive for the outcome of the election.

Read more in the article Die Rolle von Geld im US-Wahlkampf of the Federal Agency for Civic Education. The latest figures on campaign spending can be found at Spending: by the numbers of the Federal Election Commission.


Soft money refers to campaign contributions that are neither subject to approval nor disclosure requirements and, according to regulations, can only be used for party-building activities such as voter education, voter registration, or so-called issue ads. In issue ads, only topics, not specific candidates, may be promoted. The term loophole refers to legal gaps that campaigns have repeatedly and effectively exploited over time.

Campaign organizations that do not donate their fundraising money (from corporations, banks, unions, or individuals) to candidates but spend it on so-called uncoordinated political expenditures. Because Super PACs are prohibited from making strategic agreements with candidates' campaigns (uncoordinated), they can collect unlimited campaign contributions. Super PACs are considered a direct result of the Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and SpeechNow.org v. FEC (2010).

Non-profit organizations named after the relevant sections of the central American tax code (Internal Revenue Code, IRC) and are nearly completely exempt from tax payments and transparency obligations. Along with Super PACs, they are among the most active players in the realm of outside spending.

The Citizens United decision led to campaign spending being allowed in two clearly distinguishable areas: inside and outside spending. The former includes traditional campaign actors such as candidates, parties, and PACs (Political Action Committees operated by interest groups). Outside spending actors, on the other hand, include the newly formed Super PACs and 501(c) organizations. Both areas are considered separate since their respective actors are not allowed to cooperate with each other.

Dark money refers to campaign expenditures intended to influence a voter's decision, where the identity of the donor or the source of the money remains unknown. These opaque dark money funds typically originate from the realm of outside spending and are therefore primarily associated with Super PACs and 501(c) organizations.

The term permanent campaigning describes the phenomenon where officeholders in the USA continue an uninterrupted campaign beyond election day. The formerly clear distinctions between campaign and governance phases have now almost completely overlapped. A key characteristic of permanent campaigning is the relentless fundraising, an activity to which representatives of all parties often devote several hours daily.


Ever shorter primaries in the USA

The development of primary election timeframes since 2012

Infographic on the duration of the primaries in the USA

The US primaries are a crucial part of the presidential election. They determine the Democratic and Republican candidates. In 2024, Joe Biden and Donald Trump prevailed as candidates. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the primaries are becoming shorter and shorter.

The parties organise the primaries themselves. There are two systems: primary and caucus. Primaries are divided into open and closed primaries. In open primaries, all eligible voters can vote by secret ballot; in closed primaries, only party members can vote. In the caucus system, the participants vote publicly on the candidates. Donald Trump was the Republican frontrunner 244 days before the election – the shortest primary since 2008. The Pew Research Center did not include the incumbent president in its study. In 2008, John McCain was nominated 245 days before the election, while Joe Biden became the Democratic frontrunner in 2020 just 209 days before the election.

An early nomination does not guarantee an election victory: in 2008, Barack Obama prevailed against McCain, although McCain had already been nominated. The longest primaries were held by the Republicans in 1976: President Ford only won against Ronald Reagan 75 days before the election, but then lost to Jimmy Carter. Four years later, Reagan became the frontrunner 162 days before the election and won the presidency.

Read more in the study 2024 presidential primary season was one of the shortest in the modern political era of the Pew Research Center. For an explanation of US primaries, please visit the website of the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg.


Risk of disinformation
for elections

Disinformation as the biggest risk of the next two years

2 years 10 years
Overview of global risks over the next two and ten years
Overview of global risks over the next two and ten years

Fake news has become a popular tool since the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in 2016, particularly with the support of actors such as Russia. Their aim is to destabilise democracies with misinformation. A study by the des World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that misinformation and disinformation will be the greatest risk over the next two years.

The WEF study predicts that the targeted use of misinformation will be one of the top five global threats in the next ten years. It can cause lasting damage to democracies by causing citizens to lose trust in elections and other democratic institutions. The rapid development of technologies such as AI bots and the immense power of social media make it more difficult to identify and control fake news. Fake news is increasingly being tailored to specific groups and spread via platforms such as WhatsApp or Telegram. The further development of artificial intelligence is making it increasingly difficult to distinguish human-generated news from AI-generated news. There is often a lack of clear labelling for AI-generated content. As a result, AI can be misused for manipulative purposes. These technical possibilities can attack democratic processes and weaken trust in elections. If the legitimacy of elections is called into question, this can massively jeopardise democracy.

Besonders gefährdet ist Indien, die bevölkerungsreichste Demokratie der Welt, wo in diesem Jahr gewählt wird. Die USA liegen auf Platz 6 des Rankings der am stärksten durch Fake News gefährdeten Staaten, da hier fast 92 Prozent der Bürgerinnen und Bürger Zugang zum Internet und zu den sozialen Medien haben und somit potenzielle Ziele für Fake News sind. Die EU, wo insgesamt 89 Prozent der Bevölkerung Zugang zum Internet haben, folgt auf Platz 8. Damit sind die drei größten Wahlen weltweit unter den Top 10 Regionen, die von Fehlinformation bedroht sind.

Informationen zu weiteren Bedrohungen für Demokratien in den nächsten zwei bis zehn Jahren finden Sie im Global Risks Report 2024 des World Economic Forum.


AI as a reliable source
for elections?

Can voters rely on information from AI?

An AI robot labelled ‘Are you human?’ tries to find answers to voters’ questions.

Artificial intelligence has made enormous progress in a short period of time. It can solve complex problems, summarise texts, and write new ones. But can it also be a reliable source of information for voters? A kind of “Wahl-O-Mat 2.0” (tool for assisting in choosing which party to vote for based on one’s own political position, )? The study Are Chat Bots a reliable source of information for voters of Algorithm Watch provides a clear answer.

Algorithm Watch used the AI of Microsoft's Bing search platform for the study. The AI was asked for facts about the state elections in Hesse and the Federal Council elections in Switzerland. The result was alarming. The AI made many mistakes. A third of the answers contained false information, such as incorrect election dates, candidates or invented controversies. Although the AI cited various sources, some data was misrepresented.

In addition to factual errors, the AI avoided clear answers in 39 per cent of cases. It was often unable to answer even simple questions such as ‘Which candidates are running for the National Council in Canton X?’ and claimed to remain politically neutral. It only provided correct answers in 30 per cent of cases. Clearly too low to be a reliable source of information for voters, making such AI applications useless for voters.

Interestingly, the AI performed better in English than in German or French. While 37 per cent of the answers in German contained errors, only 20 per cent of the answers in English did. In French, there were false statements in 24 per cent of cases, but the AI provided ambiguous answers more frequently. More than half of the French answers evaded the question or were unclear.

Read more about the dangers of artificial intelligence as a source of information for voters in the study Are Chat Bots a reliable source of information for voters and in Algorithm Watch’s blog post 10 Fragen zu KI und Wahlen.


E-voting in Germany

Is e-voting the future of elections?

A woman votes on her mobile phone while carrying groceries in her right hand.

E-voting has become a topic of discussion in Germany again since the coronavirus pandemic. It is hoped that more people will vote if they can cast their vote online. Counting votes would also be simplified. Members already voted digitally at the CDU's national party conference in 2021. But would e-voting really motivate more people to vote?

The Federal Parliamentary Research Service has looked into this question. There are still concerns about the security and encryption of voter data. Some systems have weaknesses and risks. For example, in the 2019 SPD member surveys, the voting system used allowed the same email address to be entered for several members. This meant that one person could vote for several members.

E-voting was also tested for the 2023 social elections. The social elections in Germany are organised by the health insurance funds and are the third largest election in Germany. 20 million of the 51 million eligible voters were able to vote online. The aim was to increase the otherwise low voter turnout. However, voter turnout hardly changed as a result of the online voting option. At Techniker Krankenkasse, for example, only 10 per cent cast their vote digitally. At Barmer, it was only 5.8 per cent.

CDU members were already able to vote online at the CDU's digital national party conference in 2021. To verify the results, the election of the federal chairman was confirmed by postal vote. The online vote and the postal vote produced the same result. The CDU used a voting system from Polyas for the digital federal party conference, but this still harboured a number of risks at the time. In particular, there was great fear of cyberattacks that would have been able to manipulate the election result.

Read more about the situation and a possible introduction of e-voting in Germany in the Federal Parliamentary Research Service’s article on E-Voting.

Contributors to this issue were:

Team KALUZA + SCHMID Studio, Bogdan Miftakhov, Kristin Wesemann, Leon Buchberger


(1) Nord, Marina/Juraj Medzihorsky/Staffan I Lindberg (2024): Clean Elections Across the World. V-Dem Institute, Gothenburg.
Freedom House (2024): Election Watch for the Digital Age. Washington, DC

(2) Feldman, Benjamin/Jennifer McCoy (2024): Bet on Big-Tent Opposition Electoral Coalitions to Defeat Democratic Backsliding. Carnegie endowment for international peace, Washington, DC

(3) Roose, Jochen (2024): Meine 1. Europawahl. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Berlin
Hirndorf, Dominik (2024): Stadt, Land, … Unterschiede? Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Berlin

(4) Leininger, Arndt et al. (2024): Coming of voting age. Evidence from a natural experiment on the effects of electoral eligibility. Elsevier Ltd., Amsterdam
Faas, Thorsten/Arndt Leininger (2023): Mehr Wählen wagen? Otto-Brenner-Stiftung, Frankfurt am Main
Roth, Roland (2023): Wie Wählen ab 16 die Demokratie stärken kann. Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh

(5) Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (2020): Europawahl. Wahlbeteiligung und Briefwahl. Berlin
Diermeier, Matthias/Christian Oberst/Samina Sultan (2024): Europa der Regionen? Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Berlin

(6) Hebenstreit, Jörg (2020): Die Rolle von Geld im US-Wahlkampf. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Berlin
Federal Election Commission (o.D.): Spending: by the numbers. Washington, DC

(7) Desilver, Drew (2024): 2024 presidential primary season was one of the shortest in the modern political era. Pew Research Center, Washington, DC
Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg (2024): Ablauf der Vorwahlen in den USA. Baden-Württemberg

(8) World Economic Forum (2024): The Global Risks Report 2024. Cologny/Geneva

(9) Algorithm Watch (2023): Generative AI and elections: Are chatbots a reliable source of information for voters? Berlin

(10) Ehrenberg-Silies, Simone/Anne Busch-Heizmann/Jost Lüddecke (2023): E-Voting – alternative Wahlformen und ihre Absicherung. Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag, Berlin, S. 57–65