Election Management Bodies and Public Confidence in Elections: Lessons from Latin America

Publication Date: 
20 Nov 2009

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Abstract  

Voter confidence in elections is critical, as confidence has an effect on the legitimacy of elected officials, support for government policies and institutions and the quality of democratic representation. However, few studies examine how attitudes towards Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and the nature of EMBs influence individual perceptions of election quality and political participation. Using public opinion data from 18 Latin American countries, as well as aggregate data on the institutional design of EMBs, this study attempts to fill this gap in the literature. I find individuals tend to have greater confidence in EMBs that are non-partisan, independent and professional, although the relationship is not strong. Second, I find that confidence in EMBs is a strong predictor of voter confidence in election outcomes. Finally, I find that low confidence in election outcomes can reduce the individual likelihood of voting.

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