Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. What electoral fraud is under law varies from country to country.
Many kinds of election fraud are outlawed in electoral legislation, but others are in violation of general laws, such as those banning assault, harassment or libel. Although technically the term 'electoral fraud' covers only those acts which are illegal, the term is sometimes used to describe acts which are legal but nevertheless considered morally unacceptable, outside the spirit of electoral laws, or in violation of the principles of democracy. Show elections, in which only one candidate can win, are sometimes considered to be electoral fraud, although they may comply with the law.
In national elections, successful electoral fraud can have the effect of a coup d'état or corruption of democracy. In a narrow election a small amount of fraud may be enough to change the result. Even if the outcome is not affected, fraud can still have a damaging effect if not punished, as it can reduce voters' confidence in democracy. Even the perception of fraud can be damaging as it makes people less inclined to accept election results. This can lead to the breakdown of democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship.
Electoral fraud is not limited to political polls and can happen in any election where a cheater perceives the potential gain as worth the risk, as in elections for labor union officials, student councils, sports judging, and the awarding of merit to books, films, music or television programs.
Despite many instances of electoral fraud internationally, in the U.S. a major study by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 showed of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and of those few cases, most involved persons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility.
Other articles related to "electoral fraud, fraud, electoral":
... After the election an electoral fraud was claimed by Álvarez and his party ... also contested the 1986 elections in Chihuahua in which opposition parties claimed an electoral fraud had taken place once again ... national criticism of perpetrating an electoral fraud ...
... were declared innocent but some of them where declared responsible for electoral fraud and illegal exercise of the public trust ... of money laundering and organized delinquency, but they were accused of electoral fraud and illegal exercise of the public trust Carlos Romero Deschamps (leader of the union), Ricardo ... organized delinquency, but they were accused of electoral fraud ...
... Under Karzai's administration, electoral fraud has reached such a level that Afghanistan's status as a democratic state is being questioned ... of constitutional norms has sought to reinstate dozens of candidates who were removed for fraud in the 2010 parliamentary elections by the Independent Electoral Commission ...
... February 19, 2010, Lumengo was accused of electoral fraud in the elections to the 2006 Grand Council of Bern ... However, it was exonerated on charges of electoral fraud in connection with federal elections of 2007 ... Lumengo has always contested the election fraud, but accepted the suspicion of votes collection ...
Famous quotes containing the words fraud and/or electoral:
“There exists in a great part of the Northern people a gloomy diffidence in the moral character of the government. On the broaching of this question, as general expression of despondency, of disbelief that any good will accrue from a remonstrance on an act of fraud and robbery, appeared in those men to whom we naturally turn for aid and counsel. Will the American government steal? Will it lie? Will it kill?We ask triumphantly.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 B.C.)