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Quality of Elections in Latin America: Electoral Governance, Trust, Failure

Elections
Institutions
Latin America
Gabriela Tarouco
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
Gabriela Tarouco
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Abstract

How the same institutions can generate distrust about electoral fairness but preclude fraud and manipulation at the same time? Why are there concerns about electoral integrity in elections that end up being considered free and fair? The paper argues that some vulnerabilities in the electoral governance institutions, despite increasing concerns about electoral integrity, don’t hinder free and fair elections. This question regards to the validity of variables used to measure electoral integrity. Concerns about quality of elections are perceptions, affected by regime legacies, political culture, democratic performance. On the other hand, fraud and manipulations reported by international observers are actual empirical indicators, which depend mainly on real constraints and incentives. The paper compares the effects of electoral governance on the concerns about quality of elections as coded in NELDA dataset and also on the fairness of elections according to international observers’ reports, as coded by Birch (2008) and Donno (2013).