Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 02:37:35 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Electoral Fraud Nature And Its Consequences

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Helal Uddin Ahmed :
Believed to be widespread, especially in developing countries of the world, electoral fraud may be defined as illegal and unethical interferences in the election process. In an oft-cited paper titled 'The Menu of Manipulation' (2002), Andreas Schedler proposed the following wide-ranging definition: "Electoral fraud involves the introduction of bias into the administration of elections. It can take place at any stage of the electoral process, from voter registration to the final tally of ballots. It covers such activities as forging voter ID cards, burning ballot boxes or padding the vote totals of favoured parties and candidates. Invariably, though, it violates the principle of democratic equality. Fraudulent practices distort the citizenry's preferences by denying voting rights to some citizens, while amplifying the voice of others."
Common types of electoral fraud include: 'double voting' or 'ballot stuffing', where one person casts more than one vote; 'dead voters', where a deceased person remains on the voters' list and a living person fraudulently casts vote in his or her name; 'voter suppression', where tactics are employed for lowering or suppressing the number of voters; 'registration fraud', where voter registration is done for a fictional person, or is performed for a real person without his consent or knowledge; 'voter impersonation', when a person claims to be someone else while casting vote; 'vote buying', when agreements are reached for buying or selling votes; 'fraud by officials', when ballots are manipulated by officials administering election, such as throwing out ballots, or casting or stuffing ballots in the name of voters.
Electoral manipulations diminish or thwart many of the assumed benefits of democratic governance, including public accountability, transparency, and representation. Studies on election fraud, including the one by Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, have shown that applying dirty tactics helps the politicians that are already in office. By resorting to illegal and unethical practices, they can expect to be in office around 2.5 times longer than if they participated in fair elections. But dirty elections are bad for socio-economic growth, as they skew the politicians' incentives towards pursuing bad policies instead of good ones.  
In their highly insightful book 'How to Rig an Election' (Yale Univesity Press, 2018), Professor Nic Cheeseman of the University of Birmingham and Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics have shown that 75 percent of elections are won by governments in power through authoritarian adaptation and systemic manipulations. The book made an engrossing analysis of the pseudo-democratic methods employed by despots around the globe to retain power. The authors argue that the increase in voting has not led to a corresponding rise in embracing democratic norms, with voter intimidation, strategic misinformation, and ballot-rigging common in many countries that describe themselves as democratic.
Contrary to what is commonly believed, authoritarian leaders who agree to hold elections are generally able to retain power longer than autocrats who refuse to allow the population to vote freely. Cheeseman and Klaas exposed the limitations of national elections as a means of promoting democratisation, and revealed the six essential strategies adopted by dictators to undermine the electoral process in order to guarantee victory for themselves. Based on their firsthand experiences as election watchers as well as interviews with top officials and manipulators, they documented instances of vote rigging from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Brazil to India, Nigeria to Russia, and the United States. They noted that the greatest political paradox of our time was "there are more elections than ever before, but the world is becoming less democratic". The vast majority of government appears to go through the motions of election campaigns, and is rhetorically committed to allowing citizens to cast ballots for choosing leaders. But in many places, that choice is little more than an illusion: "the contest is rigged from the very start".
The co-authors argue that elections have been co-opted by regimes across the globe to tighten their grip on power. "Previously, it was assumed that a deluge of elections would lead to a flood of incumbents losing power. Instead, a small proportion of incumbents are losing office, and in some places, like sub-Saharan Africa, we actually find little difference in incumbent turnover rates since the 'Third Wave of Democracy' swept across the continent in the late 1980s. Some single-party dictatorships are actually less stable than 'counterfeit democracies' that are authoritarian but hold ostensibly multi-party elections. In other words, if you want to stay in power, rigging elections is preferable to not holding them at all".
During their research, Cheeseman and Klaas uncovered elections rigged through use of disappearing ink in polling stations of opposition strongholds, as in Ukraine; assassinations, as in Pakistan and Mexico; using name doubles for popular opposition candidates and putting them on the ballot to split votes, as in Russia; drawing gerrymandered districts, as in Zimbabwe and the United States; blatant ballot box stuffing, as in Turkey and Kenya; manipulating the international community to endorse a rigged election, as in Azerbaijan; vote buying, as in Thailand and Uganda; and many other innovative techniques.
Elections are supposed to be truly transformative. But rigged ones are weapons of the status quo, not of change. And they have become astonishingly common now. Since the end of Cold War, many elections held in authoritarian states have featured some forms of electoral manipulation. As a consequence, authoritarian leaders win elections in such contexts about nine times out of ten. Despite the impression of competition and choice, these elections deliver continuity instead of change.
Interestingly, Cheeseman and Klaas find that only about 30% of all elections in the world result in an incumbent losing power. The post-Cold War normal is not 'the end of history' with democracy reigning everywhere; but instead 'counterfeit democracy' dominates many regions of the world. Elections are often used not to translate the will of the people into political power, but to subvert people's will and ensure that the incumbent remains in office.

(Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, retired Additional Secretary of GoB, former Editorial Consultant of The Financial Express; email: hahmed1960 @gmail.com)

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

ICT Act needs urgent review to allow free flow of information

Marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information on Monday, journalists and academics in a virtual discussion organised by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in the city said, media is experiencing a suffocating situation now pointing out that 37 journalists were sued for reporting on high level corruption even during ...

Football »

AC Milan interested in signing Man Utd defender Diogo Dalot

AC Milan are interested in signing Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot.The Portugal U21 international played just once for United following the restart of the 2019/20 season, and is yet to feature during this campaign.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has preferred Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Timothy Fosu-Mensah at right-back in United's three matches so ...

International »

Coronavirus deaths rise above a million in `agonizing` global milestone

Reuters :The global coronavirus death toll rose past a million on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, a grim statistic in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live.The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus this year is now double ...

International »

Pakistan, Afghanistan shake hands as they aim to end mistrust

Al Jazeera News :Pakistan and Afghanistan have reaffirmed their commitment to closer ties and the Afghan peace process, as the chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, continues his tour of his country's eastern neighbour.Speaking at an event in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday, Abdullah struck a ...

National »

Prof. Shamsul Huda dies

Staff Reporter, Kishoreganj :Educationist Professor A.F.M  Shamsul Huda,a former Principal of Gurudhyal Government College in Kishoreganj died at Syed Nazrul Islam Medical College Hospital on Tuesday noon where he was under treatment being affected by Covid-19.He was 90.He left behind his wife, four sons , daughter and a host of ...

Business & Economy »

LankaBangla, Shinepukur Suites sign MoU

Business Desk :LankaBangla Finance Ltd (LBFL) has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shinepukur Suites for its customer privilege.Under the agreement, LBF cardmembers will enjoy buy one get two (B1G2) Buffet Lunch and Dinner (weekend) and also up to 60 per cent discount on room accommodation and food ...

Entertainment »

Jaya Ahsan waiting to fly Kolkata for works of new movies

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Popular film actress of Bangladesh and Kolkata Jaya Ahsan is waiting to go to Kolkata for work of her new movie titled Chheledhora. Now she wants go to Kolkata in October. Not only this but also she likely to complete the works on two more movies there. ...

Entertainment »

Actor Farooque diagnosed with tuberculosis

Entertainment Report :National award winning film actor and ruling Awami League lawmaker Akbar Hossain Pathan, popularly known as Farooque in the screen, has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The veteran actor of Dhallywood has been undergoing treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore now. Earlier after receiving treatment at two major ...

Editorial »

WASA must ensure supply of clean water for Dhaka dwellers

THE level of mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in WASA's handling of water supply and sewerage in the capital has been greatly exposed. Despite implementation of many projects costing hundreds of crores of taka over the years, Dhaka city dwellers in many areas are still living with dirty and foul-smelling water, ...

International »

Pompeo visits Greece in bid to ease East Med tensions

Al Jazeera News :US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has begun a two-day visit to Greece for talks aimed at de-escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and setting the groundwork for dialogue between Athens and Ankara.The often-testy relations between Greece and neighbouring Turkey have deteriorated sharply this year, particularly over ...

Entertainment »

Indo-American Shree Saini in race for Miss World America pageant

Miss World America recently announced its 2020 contestants list. The 2020 Miss World America pageant will see Indian American Shree Saini. She is the chosen representative of Washington State. She is a survivor of heart surgery at age 12 for a pacemaker implant and she is a burns survivor. She ...

Editorial »

Observing Rivers Day while saving the water bodies from pollution

THE World Rivers Day on September 27, observed globally this year on the theme of 'waterways in our communities', left a question --- what is the condition of our rivers? Historically rivers play a vital role in human settlement in this delta with livelihood, communication, agricultural production. Rivers here viewed ...

City »

BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq speaks as Chief Guest at a photo exhibition on 100 rivers at Sadarghat Terminal on Sunday.

Editorial »

Registrar to get charge of VC in SAU not rational

DHAKA University Teachers' Association protested the decision of giving Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University (SAU) registrar the charge of Vice-Chancellor of the university. Amid the deteriorating education quality for student politics, absence of academic integrity, teachers' involvement in administrative functions more than academic and their partisan politics, the decision of giving charge ...

International »

South Korea's domestic coronavirus cases fall to lowest in 44 days

Reuters, Seoul :South Korea on Saturday reported 49 new domestic coronavirus cases, the smallest number of locally transmitted cases in 44 days in a sign that tighter social distancing rules are paying off.Health officials reiterated calls on people to refrain from visiting their hometowns and meeting with relatives during the ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news