Blatant electoral fraud and the value of a vote

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores the relationship between malapportionment and blatant electoral fraud. Although blatant electoral fraud enables incumbents to win elections, it may undermine legitimacy and provoke protests. Malapportionment also helps the incumbent succeed by assigning larger portions of seats to party strongholds, yet its key features differ from electoral fraud. Because malapportionment neither involves coercion nor overt fraud, it is less likely to be followed by reactionary protests. But, it is an inflexible electioneering strategy, because reapportionment leads to difficult coordination problems among ruling legislators. Cross-national statistical analyses of 98 countries (1993-2012) show that, although malapportionment does not affect whether leaders use election violence and electoral cheating, political leaders become less dependent upon the simultaneous use of these fraudulent strategies when high levels of malapportionment are already endowed. The results suggest that although governments might continue to use specific types of blatant electoral fraud even when the levels of malapportionment are high, malapportionment allows governments to be more selective with combining different methods of blatant electoral fraud.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJapanese Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar


  • Electoral fraud
  • electoral violence
  • malapportionment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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