- Dial ‘F’ for fraud: Explaining citizens suspicions about elections
- Electoral Studies
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Doubts about electoral integrity, whether true or false, can undermine faith in the legitimacy of the democratic process. We investigate the reasons for such doubts in the case of the 2016 Federal elections in Australia. A three-wave panel survey of the electorate established that one third of Australians believed (falsely) that the outcome was fraudulent – a remarkable level of scepticism in an established democracy with a long history of clean and well-run contests. One reason was that many Australians misunderstood their electoral system. Media stories of electoral maladministration also led Australians – especially electoral losers -- to be suspicious and to embrace reforms. The results suggest that officials seeking to restore public confidence should strengthen civic education and improve electoral administration, particularly where the rules of the game are complex.
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