The legal definition of election fraud in established democracies: Comparing the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Loeber, Leontine (2023) The legal definition of election fraud in established democracies: Comparing the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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There has been a considerable increase in the academic attention that is paid to election fraud in established democracies, in recent years. Electoral fraud is problematic because having clean elections is necessary for the trust of citizens in their government. However, although the term “election fraud” is often used in law, there is no agreed legal definition of what actions are and are not election fraud; legislation therefore differs from country to country. To date, there is no explanation of why these differences in legislation occur.

This thesis seeks to make both an empirical-descriptive and a theoretical contribution to how election fraud legislation is shaped. The empirical-descriptive contribution is made by providing two in-depth case studies that show the historical development of election fraud legislation in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in the period of 1830-2020, based on parliamentary records. While some accounts have been provided on this topic for the United Kingdom, very little has been written about the Netherlands. Comparative research on election fraud rules is entirely absent.

The study aims to make a theoretical contribution to explaining why electoral laws take the form that they do, by focusing attention on the previously unnoticed role of legislatures and courts in this part of election administration. The thesis also provides a new analytical tool for comparing electoral fraud legislation in different countries. An original matrix is developed by the author to enable the comparison of the main properties and characteristics of legislation that can be used for comparative research.

This thesis provides new insights with regard to the question of what is considered election fraud and why this differs between countries, that can be useful for both country-specific policies and the practical field of electoral assistance and election observation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 16:35
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 16:35


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