Reconstructing Democracy in Times of Crisis: A Voter-Centred Perspective (REDEM) started as a Horizon 2020 project funded under the Governance topic of the European Commission’s Societal Challenge program Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies. The project included 10 partner institutions and is coordinated by Centre for Political Research at Sciences Po (CEVIPOF). Since August 2023, voter-centred research and activities continue with support of the collaboration network which has emerged as a result of the project.


Elections are supposed to legitimise governments. However, it is elections themselves whose legitimacy seems to be in question. Voters are increasingly unwilling to vote, even at national elections and, when they do, are attracted to parties whose stated platforms and appeal seem flatly at odds with democratic norms of freedom and equality. These developments raise a question-mark over the long-term capacity of elections to legitimize political institutions and policies in Europe.


A response to the crisis of legitimacy surrounding democratic elections needs to understand the ethical dimensions of voting as these present themselves to citizens as voters. The general goal of REDEM, therefore, is to create a network of normative political theorists as well as of social scientific and non-academic experts on electoral democracy and voting behaviour in order to develop a voter-centred perspective on the ethics of voting. This voter-centred perspective on voting aims to offer novel approaches to diagnosing and ameliorating the problems of representative democracy in Europe.


To coordinate...
...and support research into the ethics of voting in diverse electoral settings: local elections, legislative general elections, European Parliamentary elections, referenda that serve to change the constitution, and non-constitution-changing referenda.
To describe and analyse...
...the moral and political choices which citizens typically face at elections, and the ways that different types of electoral choice (primaries, national elections, referenda) at different levels of government (local, national, European) using different political systems (presidential, parliamentary, majoritarian, proportional) make it more or less likely that citizens will be forced to confront morally painful decisions.
To find new ways...
...of engaging citizens with elections, whether or not they are currently willing to vote.
To educate... developing materials written in a non-technical language, designed to help school-children and teachers, adult voters and policymakers engage with the ethical dimensions of voting, and to consider their connections to policy outcomes, past and present.
To design and experiment...
...with prototypes of game-based interactive materials in order to educate and support citizens as voters, and to promote discussion about electoral politics and its moral and strategic dimensions.
To engage... organising international workshops and conferences bringing together academic and non-academic partners and policymakers to foster debate, to stimulate new ideas and new approaches to the ethics of voting.


Key issues
  • Single issue vs. broad coalitions
  • Internal democratization of parties
  • Electoral systems
  • Gender representation
  • Multi-level governance
  • European parties
Key issues
  • European participation
  • Empirical research and populism
  • Referenda
  • Non-electoral representation
  • Popular sovereignty and constituent power
Key issues
  • AI, Big Data, blockchain
  • Social media and group polarisation
  • Ethics of polling
  • Ethics of communication/media reporting
  • Digital divide and marginalisation
  • Democratic innovation
Key issues
  • Disenfranchisement and participation
  • Political campaigning
  • Discrimination
  • Disability
  • Poverty and economic inequality
  • Geographical mobility
Key issues
  • Citizenship and immigration
  • Global democracy
  • Political polarisation and nationalism
  • Integration, segregation and cohesion
  • Language and politics