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Electoral systems and electoral misconduct

By S. Birch

Abstract

This article is a cross-national study of the impact of electoral system design on electoral misconduct. It argues that elections held in single-member districts (SMD) under plurality and majority rule are more likely to be the object of malpractice than those run under proportional representation (PR). Two reasons are advanced in support of this argument: Candidates in SMD systems have more to gain from individual efforts to manipulate elections than is the case for candidates in PR contests; and malfeasance is more efficient under SMD rules, in that the number of votes that must be altered to change the outcome is typically smaller than it is under PR. This hypothesis is tested and confirmed on a new data set of electoral manipulation in 24 postcommunist countries between 1995 and 2004. The proportion of seats elected in SMDs is found to be positively associated with levels of electoral misconduct, controlling for a variety of contextual factors

Publisher: 'SAGE Publications'
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0010414006292886
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:80856
Provided by: Enlighten
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