Electoral fraud, which comes in the form of political violence, vote-buying, “in?uence,” and various forms of procedural vote rigging, is the product of political actors’ efforts to tilt “the electoral playing ?eld” in their direction, thereby aiming to reduce the indeterminacy of elections. Electoral fraud in general acts as an additional filter hindering citizens from shaping policy outcomes, and is likely to affect perceptions of accountability and responsiveness.
Under conditions of electoral fraud, electoral figures can no longer be considered reliable expressions of the general will but become by-products of electoral manipulation. Given that electoral fraud is said to undermine the functioning of democracy. Electoral misconduct occurs frequently in both democracies and nondemocracies and that it has important consequences for party systems.
Since the 1990s, with the last large wave of democratization of post-Soviet and eastern European countries, the number of elections in the world has witnessed a sharp increase. At the same time, the quality of elections has deteriorated over time. Evidence of electoral fraud has been provided worldwide, both in developed and in developing countries. Weak electoral identity-checking schemes are responsible for at least 42 convictions for electoral fraud in the UK in the period 2000-2007 (Wilks-Heeg, 2008) and for promoting electoral fraud in Japanese municipal elections, as shown by the natural experiment by Fukumoto and Horiuchi (2011). News reports, highlighting the risk of voter fraud in several EU countries, have become a fairly routine part of electoral campaign. In developing countries, electoral fraud is usually more evident and takes a wider variety of forms: from vote buying to intimidation, from ballot-box stung and carousel voting to explicit violence.
Studies suggest that electoral fraud has a negative impact on turnout, even if there is no clear-cut result. However, the intrinsic characteristics of electoral fraud – difficult to observe and measure – make it difficult to study the relationship between fraud and turnout using empirical data. The impact of electoral integrity on voter turnout may not be as straightforward, since different types of electoral malpractices (threat of violence, coercion, vote buying, etc.) and magnitudes of electoral fraud may lead to different and contrary effects, as well as both complex micro and macro conditions affecting voter turnout having to be controlled for in empirical studies (Norris, 2014). WHY THE FRAUD HAPPENS In one view, the more competitive elections are, the more likely electoral fraud since the electorals takes are higher for all participants. In another important account, the relationship is not so direct although the causal logic is similar: in some instances politicians will commit election fraud even when elections are not close to discourage future electoral competition. A third perspective is that the relationship between electoral competition and electoral fraud is mediated by electoral institutions. This research has found, for example, that electoral manipulationis more likely in majoritarian or plural single-member systems than in proportional systems.
It is correct to argue that partisan. Collier and Vicente (2012) analysed the dierence of electoral fraud and electoral violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, showing that when political competitors are weak they are more likely to resort to violence, whereas when they are strong they prefer to use bribery and ballot box stung in order to win elections. Electoral fraud’s incidence is signi?cantly related to a society’s level of inequality in landholding, a major source of wealth, power, and prestige in this period. ELECTORAL FRAUD AND DEMOCRACY Democratic theory typically claims that democratic procedures accomplish a great deal, protecting the outcomes of political competition from becoming mere reproductions of preexisting asymmetries in coercive and material resources. The socioeconomic inequality can be a major and underappreciated barrier to the long-term process of democratization by making elections endogenous to preexisting social power even after the “choice” of formally democratic rules. Elections are ubiquitous in the regimes that emerged from the third wave and the postcommunist transitions, but they are often of dubious quality. Attempting to hold on to power, incumbents employ a wide range of tools to suppress free political competition, as electoral politics in Peru under Alberto Fujimori illustrates.
Despite the frequency of electoral misconduct, there is little theoretical agreement about its consequences and still less empirical research that investigates its effects. Some studies suggest that governments employ manipulation in close races to increase their vote shares by just enough to ensure an election win. In this scenario, the effect of misconduct on the number and strength of political parties is likely to be shallow.
Other studies point to the consequential effects of government-sponsored manipulation on opposition parties’ ability to compete in elections, suggesting that the consequences of misconduct may be deep enough to influence key features of the party system. Preelection tools aim to deter opposition parties and their supporters and create a biased information environment. This exert a “psychological” effect on parties and voters, whereas ballot fraud exerts a direct, “mechanical” effect on vote shares. Preelection misconduct includes any actions taken prior to the election that aim to restrict political competition.
They include encroaching on parties’ ability to campaign as well as intimidating opposition parties, voters, and the media. These tools exert psychological effects that condition the decisions of party elites and voters while ballot fraud refers to actions taken on or after election day that distort the balloting, counting, or tabulation processes. It exerts a mechanical effect on the translation of votes to seats.
Preelection misconduct has a strong reductive effect on the effective number of parties but opposition parties and voters is the most important mechanism through which misconduct reduces party numbers. however, ballot fraud does not affect this part of the political system. Opposition parties are discouraged from running, or face restrictions on their ability to campaign, and voters are intimidated or discouraged from supporting the opposition. In contrast, ballot fraud, implemented during the casting, counting, or tabulation of votes, exerts a direct, “mechanical” effect on vote shares. We offer three specific mechanisms— deterrence, information, and rigging—linking these two types of misconduct with a reduction in the number of parties in a system, vis-à-vis the number of parties predicted in a fully competitive context. Tools of preelection misconduct reduce ENLP below the number expected under fully competitive conditions, but ballot fraud does not. Preelection misconduct works primarily by deterring opposition parties from competing, by deterring voters from expressing their support for the opposition, and, to a lesser extent, by restricting the information environment.
The fact that misconduct reduces the number of parties suggests the existence of a representation gap in countries that hold flawed elections. In these contests, citizens must choose from a restricted set of parties, and even then their votes may not count. The actors involved in promoting democracy should pay close attention to the conduct of electoral campaigns and should devise strategies for responding to government-sponsored intimidation and information repression. .The model’s implicit assumption of perfect political competition is violated in many countries that hold multiparty elections.
Some studies adopt the perspective that misconduct is a tactic primarily employed to ensure victory in close races. In addition to media control, incumbents can use their control over the police and local officials to limit the ability of their opponents to disseminate information or to prevent public campaign-related meetings and rallies.Media manipulation and restriction of campaign activity triggers an information mechanism. Because voters possess only limited or biased information, they may be less likely to vote for the opposition.
Ballot fraud includes any tool used to distort the voting, ballot counting, or tabulation processes. If effective, it produces a direct, “mechanical” effect on the opposition parties’ vote share via a rigging mechanism. Ballot stuffing and multiple voting are perhaps the most blatant examples of rigging. Another tactic is violation of the secrecy of the vote, which can allow party cadres to monitor voter behavior and punish voters who do not cast ballots for the ruling party.
While a high turnout is usually considered as a signal of a fair election we show, by means of a laboratory experiment, that this is not necessarily the case. Voters fail to rationally react to a situation where a number of fake votes are added to the elections: often in the real world people are confronted with situations where the amount of illicit behavior in elections is uncertain, rather than having clear knowledge about the level of the illegitimate intervention. The moment elections start to display the tell tale signs of manipulation and malpractice, winning and losing no longer exert different effects on voters’ attitudes. Citizens who perceive elections to be fair are more likely to vote than those who have reservations about electoral procedures. However, most studies use citizens’ subjective perception of fairness; fewer empirical investigations to date have tested analogous hypotheses by means of indicators assessing electoral fraud from third-party observations, even if the two are closely related.
Pre-election misconduct directed at deterring the opposition has psychological effects on parties and voters, reducing the number of legislative parties. Electoral fraud as a breach of procedural impartiality will influence SWD negatively, but that winning an election could change the shape of this relationship and have a positive effect on SWD – irrespective of the degree of electoral misconduct. Voters are interested in policy gains, regardless of whether these gains come at the price of electoral fraud. Newer democracies are more likely to experience electoral malpractice, yet levels of SWD in these countries are less sensitive to the quality of elections than those in more established democracies. Impartial bureaucratic procedures matter more for SWD than electoral outcomes such as congruence between voters and representatives. Winners of an election in majoritarian systems are more satisfied with democracy than winners in consensual systems while the inverse relationship holds for those who lose.
Winning an election in majoritarian democracies usually amounts to supporting a single party government that is comparatively unhampered to implement its program. If voters place a high premium on policy gains, evaluations of democracy might hinge more on winning an election than on the manner how it is won. Perceptions of electoral integrity are positively associated with the propensity to vote. Widespread electoral fraud – considering its effects on attitudes – could result in particularly inauspicious climates for the survival of new democracies. High levels of electoral fraud are, indeed, linked to less satisfaction with democracy.