How to Rig an Election

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2018 M04 24 - 304 pages
An engrossing analysis of the pseudo-democratic methods employed by despots around the world to retain control

Contrary to what is commonly believed, authoritarian leaders who agree to hold elections are generally able to remain in power longer than autocrats who refuse to allow the populace to vote. In this engaging and provocative book, Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas expose the limitations of national elections as a means of promoting democratization, and reveal the six essential strategies that dictators use to undermine the electoral process in order to guarantee victory for themselves. Based on their firsthand experiences as election watchers and their hundreds of interviews with presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, election officials, and conspirators, Cheeseman and Klaas document instances of election rigging from Argentina to Zimbabwe, including notable examples from Brazil, India, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States—touching on the 2016 election. This eye-opening study offers a sobering overview of corrupted professional politics, while providing fertile intellectual ground for the development of new solutions for protecting democracy from authoritarian subversion.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION How do you solve a problem like elections?
1
Chapter 1 INVISIBLE RIGGING How to steal an election without getting caught
31
Chapter 2 BUYING HEARTS AND MINDS The art of electoral bribery
61
Chapter 3 DIVIDE AND RULE Violence as a political strategy
93
Chapter 4 HACK THE ELECTION Fake news and the digital frontier
125
Chapter 5 BALLOTBOX STUFFING The last resort
157
Chapter 6 POTEMKIN ELECTIONS How to fool the West
182
CONCLUSION How to stop election rigging
207
APPENDICES
241
ENDNOTES
255
FURTHER READING
299
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
301
INDEX
303
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About the author (2018)

Nic Cheeseman is professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham and founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Politics. He lives in Birmingham, UK. Brian Klaas is a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics. He lives in London.

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