The Hidden Costs of Clean Elections

The Hidden Costs of Clean Elections

by Frederic Charles Schaffer

Schaffer reveals how tinkering with the electoral process, even with the best of intentions, can easily damage democratic ideals.See more details below


Schaffer reveals how tinkering with the electoral process, even with the best of intentions, can easily damage democratic ideals.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As a result of a variety of voting irregularities in presidential and subpresidential elections since 2000, a broad-scale reform effort was made to clean up electoral administration. . . . Schaffer focuses on the unanticipated consequences of these reforms. . . . He devotes separate chapters to the four groups responsible for perverting electoral reforms: legislators who enact the new rules, election administrators who implement them, candidates and parties bound by the new rules, and civic educators who teach the public new ways to behave. This is a cutting-edge study of why and how reforms can go bad. Essential. All readership levels."—E. C. Dreyer, Choice, March 2009

"Election reformers damage democracy with surprising frequency . . . . Schaffer has assembled an impressive database of recent clean election reforms in places ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe (including 24 examples from various parts of the United States), many of which left democratic processes worse off than before. In addition, he considers historical cases in detail. . . . . The result is an illuminating, broadly comparative, and useful critique of clean election reforms."—Science

"The Hidden Costs of Clean Election Reform is a very important book that could not be more relevant to the current controversies over election systems. Frederic Charles Schaffer warns us about the risks we confront even when with the best of intentions we attempt to improve the system. It also clearly presents the opportunities partisans and others can seize for nefarious purposes in the name of 'election reform.'"—Tova Andrea Wang, The Century Foundation

"The Hidden Costs of Clean Election Reform explores the detrimental effects of election reform, offering a comprehensive treatment of the subject: a menu of things that have gone wrong and that might go wrong if care is not taken in future reforms. Many of those most active in influencing and implementing electoral reform around the world are unrepentant optimists-reform boosters who should pay special attention to this book's lessons. This is a must-read for practitioners working on election reform and foreign aid, as well as for scholars who study the process of political reform."—John Gerring, Boston University

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Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

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