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Voters' Perception vs. Expert Assessment of Election Quality

Elections
Voting
Quantitative
Marcus Spittler
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Marcus Spittler
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
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Abstract

Voters’ actual belief in the sincerity of the voting process matters insofar as elections have a legitimizing function for both democracies and autocracies. Distrust in the election process is one of its hidden challenges. While in most states voters’ perception of electoral integrity matches with the expert assessment, in others, like Ukraine, Peru, and Romania, voters strongly underestimate the quality of elections. The Ukrainian 2010 election is a quite telling example, where the false accusation of election fraud through the losing presidential candidate Tymoshenko actually negatively shaped the voters’ judgment. Therefore we have a closer look on the individual and contextual factors which steer the perception of electoral integrity, taking into consideration the shape and the time frame of electoral malpractices. First results show that the link between voters and experts judgment is especially weak for voters who did not vote for the pre-election ruling party.