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Sunday April 14, 2024

Electoral rigging complaints are 200 years old

Fingers were also pointed at 1876, 1888, 1960, 2000, 2004, 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections and hue and cry was raised over the 1957 and 2011 Canadian polls

By Sabir Shah
February 22, 2024
Capitol Hill building can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File
Capitol Hill building can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Electoral rigging allegations, both pre-poll and post-poll, have been surfacing globally for at least 200 years and ballot exercises have been dubbed controversial since 1824 when John Quincy Adams became American President despite the fact that his opponent, Andrew Jackson, had won a plurality of the popular and electoral vote, research shows.

Fingers were also pointed at the 1876, 1888, 1960, 2000, 2004, 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections, and hue and cry was raised over the 1957 and 2011 Canadian polls.

The United Kingdom has generally had low levels of proven electoral fraud. For example, there was little or no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud in 2022.

Most cases (93%) resulted in the police taking no further action or were locally resolved through words of advice to those involved.

Unlike Pakistan, the situation is relatively commendable in India, world’s largest democracy, where there are over 912 million registered voters and the turnout was 67 per cent during the last ballot exercise. However, the “Economic Times” writes: “During the pre-Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) days, election rigging in India used to be as common as the elections themselves.

There have been complaints of rigging, manipulation, gun-point voting, Gerrymandering, stuffing of ballot boxes in pre-EVM times and vote-buying etc in India, but somehow, the losing parties have always accepted defeat gracefully.

Here follows a list of countries where voters and losing parties have vociferously termed their electoral exercises as being rigged and largely manipulated:

Argentine (1931, 1937), Brazil (2014), Venezuela (2013, 2017), Bolivia (2019), Bulgaria (1946, 2013), Poland (1946), Hungary (1947, 2014), Romania (1946, 2004, 2014), Portugal (1958), Greece (1961), Serbia (1992, 1997), Russia (1996, 2007, 2011, 2012), Yugoslavia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004, 2012, 2014), Belarus (2006, 2015), Italy (2006), Austria (2016), Iran (2009, 2021), Iraq (2010, 2014), Jordan (2013), Mexico (1988), South Korea (1960), Philippines (1986, 2004, 2007), Malaysia (2013), Turkey (2014), Hong Kong (2016, 2018, 2021), Indonesia (2017, 2019), Singapore (2017), Myanmar (1990, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2020), Tajikistan (1994, 1999, 2006), Kazakhstan (1995, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2019), Armenia (1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2012), Bangladesh (1996, 2014, 2018), Sri Lanka (2000), Azerbaijan (2003, 2015), Taiwan (2004), Thailand (2006, 2011, 2014, 2019), Turkmenistan (2007, 2012), Uzbekistan (2007, 2015), Afghanistan (2009, 2014), Syria (2012, 2021), Algeria (1991, 2009, 2014), Angola (1991), Chad (1996, 2021), Cameroon (1997, 2011, 2018), Rwanda (2003, 2017), Ethiopia and Egypt (2005), Uganda (2006, 2011, 2016, 2021), Nigeria and Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008, 2013), Equatorial Guinea (2009, 2013, 2016), Rwanda, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast (2010), Mauritius (2013), Libya (2014), Malawi, Mauritania and South Africa (2014), Zambia, Sudan, Togo, Ethiopia, Burundi and Tanzania (2015), Congo (2018), Honduras (2013), Nicaragua (20210) and Guatemala (2023) etc.

Some 18 years ago, the “Journal of Democracy,” one of the world’s leading publications on the theory and practice of democracy, had stated: “Authoritarian regimes around the world hold elections, and manipulate them every step of the way. While electoral fraud and manipulation take a variety of forms, increasingly sophisticated methods are often employed before polling stations even open.

Authoritarian regimes usually get away with rigging elections, but exposure of electoral fraud and manipulation erodes the legitimacy that authoritarian regimes seek to gain through the electoral process. In a few cases where attempts to rig elections were effectively documented, election observers dealt a heavy—if not decisive—blow to the legitimacy of authoritarian regimes.”