This article was originally published by Penn State News.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State is pleased to announce that the Electoral Integrity Project has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Brown Democracy Medal.

The Electoral Integrity Project has established a set of criteria10 January 2011: Polling staff close the ballot at the end of 2nd day of the referendum on South Sudan's independence, at El Fasher voting center, North Darfur. Picture: UNAMID - Olivier Chassot with which to evaluate the integrity of elections. Employing scholars and observers, both international and domestic, it shows precisely where a nation is falling short of international standards, and what it needs to do to improve its elections, and thereby its democracy.

There were three finalists this year for the Brown Medal. In addition to the EIP, the other finalists were the Accountability Lab and the Public Mapping Project. The Accountability Lab works primarily in fledgling democracies, engaging young people and helping them develop ways to hold those in power accountable. The Public Mapping Project has developed open source software that allows anyone to take on the problem of redistricting at virtually any level of government (city, county or state).

John Gastil, director of the McCourtney Institute, said that all three finalists were doing impressive and important work. “Each of the three had much to recommend it,” he said. “But after much deliberation, we decided that the Electoral Integrity Project was the winner. We were very impressed with the sophistication of their model, both from the academic and the practical side.”

The Electoral Integrity Project is led by Pippa Norris, the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and ARC Laureate Fellow and professor of government and international relations at the University of Sydney. Norris will accept the award and deliver a public lecture at Penn State on Sept. 30.

The medal is named for Larry and Lynne Brown. Lynne graduated from Penn State in 1972 with a degree in education. Larry is a 1971 history graduate and currently chairs the McCourtney Institute’s Board of Visitors. The Brown Medal is meant to bring new ideas and innovations the public recognition they deserve and thereby advance their positive impact on democracy.

Photo credit: United Nations/Olivier Chassot