Reconstructing Democracy in Times of Crisis: A Voter-Centred Perspective (REDEM) is 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 includes 10 partner institutions and is coordinated by Centre for Political Research at Sciences Po (CEVIPOF).


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 will 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.