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What are the factors that influence people’s confidence in the legitimacy of an electoral process and outcome?
Lack of trust is becoming a defining element of elections in countries around the world. From rejecting candidates deemed untrustworthy to refusing to accept electoral outcomes, this lack of trust manifests in a range of ways — all of which are damaging to both democratic institutions and social cohesion. Whether spurred by past performances, historical divisions, grievances between factions or deliberately fueled by political actors seeking to capitalize on instability, once distrust takes root, even the most technically sound electoral process can be overshadowed. Public trust is hard won, easily lost and very difficult to restore.
Public perceptions are the new electoral battleground, magnified by social media, a convoluted and compromised information landscape and seemingly endless election cycles in many societies. While every election and electoral system has its flaws, electoral integrity must be strengthened to reflect the will of the voters legitimately and for election results to be accepted by the electorate. Trust does not necessarily stem from perfection, but from a belief in the legitimacy of a process and its outcomes, as well as confidence that the people involved are performing their duties in accordance with the law.
Against this backdrop, Foreign Policy, in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), will convene a timely conversation with leaders from government, media and civil society to discuss how to restore trust in elections and democratic institutions around the world.
Join the conversation with #TrustedResults.
Christopher Krebs, Former Directors, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Founding Partner, Krebs Stamos Group
Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, Senior Fellow, Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Dr. Cassandra Emmons, Democracy and Data Analyst, IFES
Chad Vickery, Vice President, Global Strategy and Technical Leadership, IFES
Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Ravi Agrawal, Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy