Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive
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Adam Carr's Election Archive

Your archivist at work
Your archivist at work
     This archive had its origins in 1985 when I bought my first computer and began compiling Australian election statistics, which had always been one of my hobbies. My original intention was to publish a complete set of Australian Commonwealth election statistics going back to Federation in 1901, though it's hard to see who might have published such a thing. Fortunately, the advent of the Internet meant I no longer had to worry about finding a publisher for my archive - I could publish it myself.
     Once I had the Australian archive online, I began to expand to American and British election statistics, and then began to develop a world archive, with the aim of putting online the most recent election statistics from every democratic state in the world. I am still a few countries short of that goal, but I am confident that this is now the most comprehensive online archive of election statistics in the world.
     The development of the Internet has made international election statistics much easier to find. No longer do we have to fossick through newspaper files or write letters to distant election authorities asking for statistics to be sent by post. In most democratic states, the election authorities now have their own websites at which they post election results within a few days. (Curiously, the major exception to that statement is the United States, which has no official central elections authority and hence no website.) Many newspaper websites also post detailed election results.
     Why then maintain a dedicated archive of election statistics? Firstly because the government and media websites change rapidly. Most media websites take election statistics offline within a few weeks or months of the elections. Some government websites maintain permanent archives, but by no means all.
     And secondly because far too many elections websites are over-designed: they use an infuriating range of frames, pop-ups, PDFs, clever graphics and other devices which make them slow and difficult to access for many users, particularly when the instructions are in a multitude of languages. Frequently they don't work at all.
     This archive is intended to be comprehensive, permanent and simple to use. It is of course all in English, for which I apologise to non-English-speaking users, but if a website has to be monolingual, it is better that it is in the world's most widely-understood language than any other. I try to post new election results as quickly as possible, but this is intended to be an archive, not a news service. I do have a life beyond election statistics, and I do have to earn a living.
     This is a website about elections, not about politics - something of a paradox when elections are of course all about politics. I have tried to keep political commentary to a minimum, though it is sometimes necessary to enable users to make sense of the statistics.
     Until now I have not sought to describe or categorise political parties in terms of "left" or "right." But I have been aware that this makes the data less useful for some users. I have now decided to create a new introductory page for each country giving, as well as some statistical data about the country, a brief description of its electoral history and some commentary on its party system and individual parties. These may viewed here or at the links for each country.
     Comments, questions and suggestions about this website are welcome, and I try to respond to all emails as promptly as possible.
Adam Carr
Melbourne, Australia
January 2003