Regulating 'Third Parties' as Electoral Actors: Comparative Insights and Questions for Democracy
(2015) 4 Interest Groups and Advocacy 249-271
Posted: 7 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 6, 2015
This article compares the legal regulation of ‘third parties’ as actors in electoral contests across four common law parliamentary democracies: the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. In comparing the third-party regulatory regime to that of political parties, the article offers insights into what legislative provisions reveal about the ‘nature’ of third-party actors, the activities they perform and how the law conceives of them as electoral and political participants. The final section of the article compares the scale of third-party spending in all four democracies, and examines who is doing the spending and how this compares with political party spending. We argue that although regulation has intensified in some democracies and has normative justification in both electoral exceptionalism and egalitarian theory, it faces both constitutional and pragmatic hurdles.
Keywords: Political Campaigning, Third Parties, Election Law, Election Campaigns, Freedom of Political Speech
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation