Remote Democracy? A Comparative Perspective on Voting in Pandemics and Beyond

Electoral Regulation Research Network recorded seminar

Thursday 29 October 2020


  • Professor Benjamin Reilly, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Lachlan Umbers, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Western Australia


  • Associate Professor Martin Drum, Director of Public Policy, Associate Professor, Political and International Relations, University of Notre Dame Australia

About the Talk:

On the eve of the US election, this seminar will explore the impact of the pandemic on voting methods and electoral administration across a range of democracies. With a particular focus on the rise of remote voter participation, it will analyse how mechanisms such as mail-in and on-line voting are changing the electoral landscape and what legacy these may have for trust in the electoral process post-COVID-19.

This webinar is a joint initiative of the Electoral Regulation Research Network (ERRN), Melbourne School of Government and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales.

About the Speakers:

Benjamin Reilly is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia. He was formerly Dean of the Sir Walter Murdoch School, and Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University (ANU). He has also worked with the Australian government, the United Nations and other international organisations, and held visiting appointments at Harvard, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins universities. He has authored or edited seven books and over 100 scholarly papers, and received financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United States Institute of Peace, the East-West Centre, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Australian Research Council. He regularly contributes to and is quoted in national and international media including the New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Time Magazine. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the ANU

Lachlan Umbers is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Western Australia, Perth. He works primarily in moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus upon issues in democratic theory (especially political participation) and climate justice. His work has been published in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Philosophical Studies, Political Studies, Social Theory and Practice, and the European Journal of Political Theory. With Jeremy Moss, he is the co-editor of Climate Justice and Non-State Actors: Corporations, Regions, Cities, and Individuals (Routledge, 2020), and the co-author of Climate Justice Beyond the State (Routledge, 2021).

Martin Drum is Director of Public Policy and Associate Professor, Politics and International Relations at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle. He is a Co-Convenor of the ERRN in Western Australia. He has published on early voting and was a contributor to Implications of Changes to Voting Channels in Australia, (published in December 2018) which focused on the changing landscape for early voting. He has worked to reform aspects of the WA electoral system, including the postal voting process. He contributes to local and national media, and has made submissions to a range of parliamentary inquires at State and Commonwealth level.