The 'Year in Elections' report, compiled by an independent research group affiliated with Harvard University and the University of Sydney, has Norway as the world's third best country at holding elections based on analysis of 180 presidential and parliamentary elections during the period July 2012 to December 2015.
The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) compiled its list by gathering data from over 2,000 election experts through global surveys. The surveys use a number of indicators which are grouped into several stages of election cycles, taking into account factors like fairness of media coverage, campaign financing and social constraints on fair voting.
“This study is the first to gather reliable evidence from experts to pinpoint where contests last year are problematic- such as in Ethiopia, Burundi and Haiti – and also to celebrate where they succeed, such as in Estonia, Finland and Denmark," EIP director Pippa Norris said.
The numbers are eventually crunched together to form what the research group terms the Perception of Electoral Integrity, a score between 1 and 100.
With a score of 83, Norway was behind only Denmark and Finland. All Nordic countries fared well in the study, with Sweden claiming the fourth spot and Iceland placing at number 10.
But some surprisingly low scores – including that of the United Kingdom, which ranked 39th overall following its 2015 general election; and the 47th-ranked United States, whose 2012 Presidential election and 2014 Congressional election were, according to the report, "ranked worst of any long-established democracy" – show that Denmark's high-ranking score is not achieved simply by virtue of being a Western democracy.
The top five countries for elections are:
5. Costa Rica
The five worst countries are:
138. Equatorial Guinea