Electoral fraud or vote rigging is any alteration or changing the vote count in election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result. This can be by increasing the vote share of one candidate or lowering the vote count of another. It can also be a person casting more than one vote when only one vote is permitted. This is called ballot-box stuffing. What defines electoral fraud under law varies from country to country.
Many kinds of election fraud are outlawed in specific electoral laws. Other kinds violate general laws, such as those banning assault, harassment or libel. Technically the term 'electoral fraud' covers only those acts which are illegal. Generally the term is sometimes used to describe acts which are legal but considered morally unacceptable, outside the spirit of electoral laws, or in violation of the principles of democracy.
In national elections, successful electoral fraud can have the effect of a coup d'état or corruption of democracy. In a narrow election a small amount of fraud may be enough to change the result. Even if the outcome is not affected, fraud can still have a damaging effect if not punished. For example, it can reduce voters' confidence in democracy. Even the perception of fraud can be damaging. Fraudulent elections can lead to the breakdown of democracy and the establishment or ratification of a dictatorship.
Fraud in elections is not limited to those for public office. Elections for a corporation's directors, labor union officials, student councils, etc. are subject to similar fraud, as are sports judging, and the awarding of merit to works of art and literature.
- "election fraud". The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "ballot-box stuffing". Collins. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Mikhail Myagkov, G.; Peter C. Ordeshook; Dimitri Shakin (2009-05-31). The forensics of election fraud: Russia and Ukraine. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-76470-4.
- Election Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation. 2008.