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For our in-class election process, we’re going to include aspects of the systems from all three countries.

Information about your party

Information about your party

In the Netherlands and Australia, as in all parliamentary systems, when a government collapses or when it has been in power for four years, an election is held.

Learn more about the 2012 Dutch election.

7 Other Nations That Prove Just How Absurd U.S. Elections Really Are

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign could cost up to $2 billion, according to early estimates.

1. The longest campaign in Canadian history was 10 weeks.

2. In the U.K., political parties can only spend $30 million in the year before an election.

3. In Germany, political parties release just one 90-second television ad. Campaigns last six weeks. Two-thirds of the campaign funding comes from the government.

Election sign board -- cheap advertising!

Election sign board — cheap advertising!

4. In Norway, over two-thirds of political parties’ income comes from the government. Political ads are banned from television and radio.

5. In Sweden, voter registration is automatic.

6. In Australia, voting is compulsory.

7. In Brazil, Election Day is on the weekend.

Why Germany’s Politics Are Much Saner, Cheaper, and Nicer Than Ours

German voters aren’t blasted with angry rhetoric or pleas for political donations. Is that a good thing?

For the entire election season, even the larger campaigns of main parties, like the SPD or Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, cost somewhere between 20 and 30 million euros — and again, that’s the total for everyone from Chancellor Angela Merkel to the most junior parliamentarians, combined. Meanwhile, a single U.S. Senate seat now costs an average of $10.5 million to win, and Obama’s reelection campaign alone cost $700 million — excluding money from PACs, which don’t exist in Germany.

In the Netherlands each party develops a fresh set of positions (standpunten) on the issues and publishes it on their web site.

Election campaigning

Election campaigning

You are developing your positions in your essays.

An election campaign lasts about two months, features lots of televised free-for-all debates with a dozen people around a table, and costs a tiny fraction of what US campaigns cost.

Advertising is limited to temporary signboards. They’re all over, but they’re gone a day or two after the election.

They have no mass rallies with hard-to-hear candidates spouting stock phrases. Instead, the party leaders dress in the party’s colors and walk the streets, handing out brochures.

The candidates — and the members of Parliament — spend hardly any time in the fund-raising and lobbyist-pleasing activities that their US counterparts say consumes from a third to a half of their time.

Election debates

Election debates

Similarly, our campaign is going to have two main activities. The web page for your party and our in-class debates.

These will not be competitive debates with a concern for a winner and loser. Instead, they will be more informative. We want to understand the similarities and differences between each party so that we’ll know how to rank order them on our ballots.