The worst elections in Latin America

Just how bad are our elections?

Well, now we can quantify this! Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Sydney have launched The Electoral Integrity Project, a non-profit research venture that looks to quantify and compare elections worldwide using surveys of election observers and experts. Among the issues they survey are electoral procedures, voter registration, vote count, and results.

Which country had the cleanest election, according to this instrument? It should surprise no one that Norway’s 2013 Legislative election was ranked the cleanest. In latin America, Costa Rica’s 2014 Presidential election was ranked first, and 4th in the world overall. Among the worst: Equatorial Guinea’s 2013 legislative election, and Syria’s 2014 presidential contest.

As for Venezuela, the ranking reflects what we know. Hugo Chávez’s 2012 election was ranked 77th in the world, scoring best in terms of “Results” (I assume it’s timeliness and accuracy) and “Vote Count,” and worst in “Campaign Finance” and “Media Coverage.” (That right there should be indicative that the survey is getting someting right.)

What about Maduro’s 2013 election?

It ranks 110 out of 127 elections they have surveyed, the worst in Latin America. It scores particularly poorly in campaign finance, electoral authorities, and results. Just to give you a sense of how bad it was, Egypt’s 2014 presidential election (which saw dictator Gral. El-Sisi elected) is ranked a mere five spots below Maduro’s election.

As for our upcoming parliamentary elections, the project lists it as “one to watch.” Indeed.

The data is donwloadable, if you’re into this kind of stuff.

31 thoughts on “The worst elections in Latin America

  1. great.

    it is always useful to put a number on a perceived reality.

    pre-emptively I would like to point out that this government may not be ousted by an election, but it certainly can’t be ousted without one.


  2. And there it is.
    Harvard University conducts a project that poorly ranks the Venezuelan electoral system.
    Venezuela labels Harvard University as a CIA recruitment center.


    • Yes, I wondered about that, too. Who were the (international) observers and experts in that case?? Marxists professors from Canada? Members of Spain’s Podemos?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I guess you dont have to be concerned about media and financial balance nor transparency of the vote count if there is only one party in the ballot….


        • He doesn’t need to. Under democratic eyes, the entire electoral system is the embodiment of cheating. It works well enough under totalitarian eyes, though. Of course the system isn’t perfect; otherwise, the 1998 Varela Project and the recent two independent candidates for the 2015 municipal elections wouldn’t have taken place.


  3. As a first scrutiny into murky electoral waters around the world, this published work is to be commended for its apparent objectivity and thoroughness. May the authors continue to build on the data, which in turn, may alter comparative perceptions, as more countries are analyzed. In the interim, I agree with them: the (heavy) role of campaign finances in the US requires more attention.

    Accolades aside, I wondered about the integrity of and objectivity from the election observers and experts who are surveyed, not only generally but also in relation to Venezuela.


  4. Of course.

    And now with Chavez’s Fraudmatic, the sky is the limit! They will need to turn 80% disapproval and disgust for Masburrismo into a 55% win!

    That’s for the Presidential elections, of course, The “Parliament” does not really matter or exist. Don’t make me laugh..

    The only way to improve that in Corruptzuela, with the superb levels of Fraud Expertise and deep tentacles of the putrid CNE, would be reverting back to Manual voting, with pissed-off people pouring out in the streets to police the process.

    That’s what they do in Europe for many reasons, and that’s what Leopoldo and the opposition are starting to figure out. (See project Venezuela Voto Manual on FB).

    Alguien que le avise a Caprilito!


  5. So, there you have it. US style quantitative political science confirms negative views of Venezuelan electoral politics… But look at that, the US and Colombia are doing about the same as Indonesia, and none of these are comparable with Argentina or Mongolia. Pippa Norris’ project is certainly interesting.


  6. I e-mailed this “integrity project” to see what they think about Electronic vs. Manual voting systems.

    They don’t seem to place enough importance on the actual method of executing and counting the voice, and Policing the voting process. Nor do they account much for Fear Tactics, threats, intimidation and/or secrecy issues, which we know, also can alter the Integrity of the whole thing.

    I did mention Chavez’s convenien, Fraudmatic Smartmatic system, as compared to what more advanced countries in Europe use: the only reliable way: Manual Voting.

    Let’s see what they say.


    • Not surprising. During the big drought crisis at Guri- IIRC in 2010- the OPSIS website, with ample data on past and present electricity generation was still available. The GOV later shut down the website, not wanting an informed public. This arrest is just a continuation of the shut down the OPSIS website. Chavismo has decided that an informed public is harmful to its continuing in power. Ditto with the strangulation of media.


      • “Chavismo has decided that an informed public is harmful to its continuing in power.”

        Been at it since a long time ago, beginning with the Vargas crisis, and continuing with the april 11 slaughter as just two examples.


      • BT, what is really bizarre is that he wasn’t giving an ‘opinion’ or proposing ‘change’. He wasn’t saying that the government policies are bad or anything alike, either.

        The guy, as an engineer who is also the president of the Comisión Eléctrica del Colegio de Ingenieros de Lara, was merely stating an obvious fact, that if the water reaches level x, some turbines at Guri will stop. It’s like saying that 2+2=4, or that the sky is blue. And yet they arrested him, mindblowing!


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