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Zombies Ahead: Explaining the Rise of Low-Quality Election Monitoring

Sarah Sunn Bush, Christina Cottiero and Lauren Prather

Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, Working Paper Series from Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California

Abstract: The international election monitoring regime has become considerably more complex in the 21st century. Although the number of organizations engaged in high-quality election monitoring has plateaued, the number of low-quality monitors—commonly known as zombie monitors—hascontinued to grow. Low-quality election monitors threaten democracy because they validate flawed elections and undermine the legitimacy of the international election monitoring regime. This article argues that international politics have played a crucial role in the diffusion of low-quality electionmonitors. It hypothesizes that ties with autocratic powers that promote low-quality observers and membership in authoritarian regional organizations significantly increase the likelihood that a country will host low-quality monitors at its elections. To test the hypotheses, the article draws on original data on international election observation between 2000 and 2020 that identifies the most comprehensive set of groups of election monitors to date. A statistical analysis of the dataset supports the argument.

Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; election monitors; election observers; democracy; autocracy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2024-05-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
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