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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gifts, threats, and perceptions of ballot secrecy in African elections
Authors:Ferree, Karen E.ISNI
Long, James D.ISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic terms:Africa
political parties
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/461/621.abstract
Abstract:Are contingent electoral strategies, like vote buying and intimidation, effective in Africa? No, according to recent scholarship: unlike parties in other developing regions like Latin America, African parties lack the capacity to violate ballot secrecy and force voters to stick to their end of the bargain. Voters can therefore 'defect' and vote their conscience. The authors challenge this perspective. Recent Afrobarometer data show that nearly one in four Africans doubt ballot secrecy. They argue that the perception of ballot secrecy violation is sufficient for enabling contingent strategies. Drawing upon Afrobarometer data and an original exit poll conducted during the 2008 Ghanaian election, they show that doubts about ballot secrecy correlate with vote buying, intimidation efforts, and measures of campaign intensity, suggesting that they are a deliberate product of party efforts. Pervasive doubts about ballot secrecy challenge the notion that African parties are too weak to implement contingent electoral strategies. African parties can and do convince voters that their vote choices are known, particularly in urban areas where party capacity and community accessibility are highest. Doubts about ballot secrecy enable both vote buying and voter intimidation strategies, and suggest that formal rules enshrining the secret ballot offer insufficient protection to African voters. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]