Stuffing the Ballot Box: Fraud, Electoral Reform, and Democratization in Costa Rica

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This pioneering study of electoral fraud and reform focuses on Costa Rica, a country where parties gradually transformed a fraud-ridden political system into one renowned for stability and fair elections by the mid-twentieth century. Lehoucq and Molina draw upon a unique database of more than 1,300 accusations of ballot-rigging to show that, independently of social structural constraints, parties denounced fraud where electoral laws made the struggle for power more competitive. They explain how institutional arrangements generated opportunities for several executives to assemble legislative coalitions to enact far-reaching reforms.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating analysis of how electoral reform emerged in Costa Rica in a situation of competitive political pressures and the threat of civil war. A lesson in the unexpected benefits and costs of reform and in the way reforms, once in place, can endure as citizens and politicians learn their value. Costa Rica's positive experience with an independent body to oversee elections provides lessons for the United States and other countries grappling with the difficulties of running fair elections." Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University

"Stuffing the Ballot Box is that rare and important book that systematically studies a fundamental problem that is largely overlooked in the literature. The authors offer an original and analytically sophisticated assessment of the institutional and social incentives for fraud and for changes in voting rules. Lehoucq and Molina's study is much more than just an investigation of politics in Costa Rica. They offer a general explanation for corruption in voting and they provide a serious data set on allegations of vote fraud over a lengthy time period and across several voting districts in Costa Rica. As Costa Rica has undergone dramatic changes in its electoral system and in the likely incidence of fraud over the past century, the data provide a wonderful foundation for anyone interested in investigating electoral reform." Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Professor, NYU

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521810456
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Series: Studies in Comparative Politics
  • Pages: 294
  • Lexile: 1520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures; Preface; Introduction; 1. Electoral fraud during indirect and public elections, 1901–12; 2. Institutional change, electoral cycles, and partisanship, 1910–4; 3. Electoral fraud during the public ballot, 1913–23; 4. Institutional change, electoral cycles, and partisanship, 1924–8; 5. Electoral fraud during the secret ballot, 1925–48; 6. Political polarization, electoral reform, and civil war, 1946–9; Conclusion: ballot-rigging and electoral reform in comparative perspective; Index.

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