Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 02:11:38 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Rigged Polls Causes, Means & Costs

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

Helal Uddin Ahmed :
[It's the second part of 'Electoral Fraud' published on February 6]
Electoral fraud and manipulations are considered to be pervasive throughout the developing world, giving rise to chronic concerns regarding increased corruption and inhibition of economic growth, as the voters are prevented from holding the elected officials accountable. There are many ways to manipulate elections, including candidate cum voter intimidation, ballot box stuffing, and changing vote totals after ballots are cast. When election outcomes are manipulated through fraud, government officials may no longer have the incentive to perform or respond positively to their constituents' needs. Besides, fraudulently elected people may feel emboldened to engage in corrupt behaviour that hinders socio-economic growth. Despite the proliferation of democratic institutions across the globe, this dearth of electoral accountability perhaps explains why corruption cum poor governance remain persistent problems especially in the developing world (Olken and Pande, 2012; Svensson, 2003). Maladministration caused by unnecessary red tape and irregularities significantly inhibits economic growth through negative effects like discouraging investment (Mauro, 1995; Meon and Khalid, 2005; Fisman and Svensson, 2007; World Bank, 2013).
According to the USA-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), electoral fraud may be defined as "deliberate wrong-doing by election officials or other electoral stakeholders, which distorts the individual or collective will of the voters". On the other hand, electoral malpractice has been defined by IFES as "the breach by an election professional of his or her relevant duty of care, resulting from carelessness or neglect". 
In their highly acclaimed book 'How to Rig an Election' (Yale University Press, 2018), Nic Cheeseman of Birmingham University and Brian Klaas of London School of Economics have shown that the governments in power win 75% elections through authoritarian adaptation and systemic manipulations. The book made a fascinating 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. Rather, voter intimidation, strategic misinformation, and vote-rigging are common in many countries that describe themselves as democratic.
Cheeseman and Klaas claim that most dictators, despots, and counterfeit democrats resort to election rigging by using the law as a tool to ensure their victory: "Rigging can either be legal (such as gerrymandering, candidate exclusion, or voter suppression), or it can be illegal (assassinating rivals or ballot box stuffing). Rigging can also be either effective (resulting in the incumbent staying in power), or it can be ineffective (resulting in an incumbent losing the election and possibly losing power). And finally, rigging can be either subtle (difficult to detect) or blatant (immediately obvious to everyone)".
"The 'best' election rigging tactics are subtle, legal, and effective; nobody knows you're doing them; if you are caught, it's technically within the confines of the law; and they ensure you stay in power.... The 'worst' are blatant, illegal, and ineffective. Examples include violent repression and ballot box stuffing (which often leads to incumbents getting caught and sometimes failing to deliver 'enough' ballots to overcome a lack of popular support", assert Cheeseman and Klaas.
"Furthermore, incumbents who rig elections need to think about two main audiences: their own people and the international community. The degree to which they prioritise one audience over another depends on the country's control of information flows and how well positioned it is without international aid or international legitimacy. For countries that have a strategic relationship with global powers, the spectre of lost international legitimacy by virtue of rigging an election is less threatening than a country that is of little strategic value to global powers and also relies on international aid. However, even in countries in which the international community has minimal leverage over the incumbent regime, if the citizens find out that the election was rigged, it can produce serious consequences (mass protests, general strikes, or a loss of popular legitimacy that lingers on in the form of a higher risk of coups, revolutions, insurrection, or civil war)", the co-authors claim.
It is therefore not unusual that elections are rigged by employing a variety of tactics, with varying strategies in different contexts. Those who rig elections across the globe draw from a toolbox of tactics and tricks rather than relying solely on one method. In most cases, these tactics are found to be complementary for ensuring that the failure of any one tactic does not leave things to chance. So, for example, an incumbent may choose to gerrymander and intimidate opposition voters through violent repression - but may still choose to stuff ballot boxes on the day of the election as an extra precaution. These decisions are often taken based on the degree of fear of losing power compared to the degree of damage the regime would be exposed to for rigging an election.
The co-authors also point out that 'Only amateurs steal elections on Election Day.' In reality, the 'experts' at rigging elections start the manipulation process well before the voting begins. It is not outside the realm of possibility that some elections are systematically rigged through cynical policies set in motion even a decade earlier. Other pre-election manipulation comes in the form of legal but immoral or unethical exclusion of candidates. However, early planning is impossible in some cases. In such cases, the incumbents may turn to 'desperation rigging' - by inventing tallies at collation centres, or stuffing ballot boxes, or killing the opponents in cold blood.
It is quite clear from the foregoing that preventing and mitigating electoral fraud and manipulation by authoritarian regimes bent on retaining power are huge challenges for the developing countries of the world. The IFES has proposed a framework (2012) for conceptualising election frauds and malpractices as well as their deterrence and mitigation.
The framework is as follows:
Figure: Elements of Electoral Fraud cum Malpractice and their Deterrence cum Mitigation
Restoration of infringed rights
The above-mentioned framework may be applied by the affected states as well as international community for promoting genuine democracy and fundamental freedoms through ensuring free and fair elections across the globe.

 (Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed is a retired Additional Secretary of GoB and 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