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Introducing the 2024 OII Elections Initiative

Introducing the 2024 OII Elections Initiative

Published on
2 Feb 2024
Written by
Licinia Güttel
Why 2024 promises to be an important year for elections and internet research and how students and colleagues at the OII plan to make sense of these events.

2024 has already been described by commentators with many superlatives: TIME speaks of ‘the ultimate election year’ (TIME, 2023, Elections Around the World in 2024 | TIME) and the Economist announces ‘the biggest election year in history’ (The Economist, 2023, 2024 is the biggest election year in history | The Economist). In 2024, about two billion people (approximately 25% of the world’s population) are eligible to vote in more than 60 countries across the globe (Statista, 2024, Chart: 2024: The Super Election Year | Statista). Elections will take place in very populous countries such as the US, India, and Indonesia as well as in a supranational setting, with the European Parliament elections happening in June. These elections point to quite different facets of politics, as well as to factors at the regional and national levels.  

Connecting elections with Internet research 

The upcoming elections are already accompanied by discussions and fears related to the impact of digital technologies on election campaigns, as demonstrated by the debates around generative AI and disinformation. To grasp what is at stake during this important year, it is pivotal to understand the impact of digital technologies at various stages of the electoral processes. At the same time, we need to carefully research if digital technologies are having a concrete impact on election campaigns or whether we are witnessing an over-hype of certain aspects, possibly concealing other more critical issues.  

This is why we are excited to launch the OII Elections 2024 initiative which aims to cover the digital aspects of some key elections in 2024. 

As elections will be happening in different political, cultural, and regional contexts, it will also be exciting to see how implications of digital technologies differ between contexts. The connections between elections and digital technologies are manifold, but among others, this thematic complex points towards the following themes and questions: 

  • Electoral campaigns: How do candidates portray themselves online and how do they use social media? How do candidates rely on data to target and win voters? (You can read a blog post on this here: OII | How Data and Artificial Intelligence are Actually Transforming American Elections (
  • Media: Is there a media debate about digital technologies and their electoral impact? How is digital media covering the election campaigns and associated issues? 
  • Social media and disinformation: Which actors spread disinformation and on which social media sites do they rely? How do platforms respond? Will we be witnessing a new scale of political disinformation because of the possibilities of generative AI? You can already read about this here: OII | Fears about the impact of Generative AI on misinformation are overblown, says Oxford AI researcher.
  • Coverage of policy propositions by parties and candidates: Will political parties and candidates cover digital issues in their campaigns and party manifestos? How do they talk about the Internet and digitalisation, and which policy propositions do they have?
  • Public opinion: Are public opinion and political behaviour influenced by these online dynamics? What do citizens think about digital technologies and their political implications?
  • New ways to research elections? How can we use big data, data science, and network analyses for new research approaches towards elections? What conclusions do these research approaches allow? 

The OII Elections 2024 initiative  

At the Oxford Internet Institute, we are very interested in these questions and want to monitor the electoral dynamics ahead of us. We have decided to look at eight important elections, spanning a variety of regional contexts, levels of democracy, levels of civil rights and press freedom, and political systems. Taken together, this will aim to offer insights on trends and how these unfold in different contexts. Considering different regions of the world also allows us to extend the focus to contexts which might be underrepresented in Western media and research.  

The following countries will be covered:  

  • European Parliament 
  • USA 
  • United Kingdom 
  • Ghana 

For each of these elections, we will bring together the knowledge of experts from the Oxford Internet Institute. They will examine the context of the elections and shed light on the most interesting and relevant digital aspects at stake. Our academic reviewers Professor Vicki Nash, Professor Helen Margetts, and Dr Keegan McBride will then review these contributions, and while these will not be peer-reviewed, journal published papers, we hope they offer observers a sense of how technology is impacting the electoral process. The articles will be shared on the OII website, as well as on social media. For some of these elections, we will hold public events to discuss the elections with an interested audience. The first of these events on 7th February zooms in on the digital aspects of the Indonesian election. Additionally, the first document on the Indonesian general election will be shared here shortly after the event.  

Please join us for the upcoming event and stay tuned for the forthcoming analyses.

Media commentary

Listen to OII doctoral researcher Licinia Guttel speaking to German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, sharing her insights on the role of social media in the super election year 2024.

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