Date of Submission

Summer 7-20-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Chair/Co-chair

Joseph G. Bock, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Carroll, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sherrill Hayes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Marcus Marktanner

Abstract

As elections are increasingly plagued by malpractice, violence, systemic manipulation, and corruption, electoral administrators worldwide view Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based solutions as convenient and cost-effective in enhancing electoral integrity. ICT optimists contend that digitization enhances efficiency, speed, and detectability of fraud and manipulation, and thereby improves the quality of elections. ICT skeptics, however, argue that digitization reduces voters’ confidence in elections as these technologies are susceptible to new vulnerabilities such as hacking, breakdown, and programmatic manipulation. While arguments on both sides are appealing, there has been very little systematic effort to empirically test these assertations. This dissertation partially fills this void and uses a multilevel mixed-effects ordered logistic model to assess whether or not the usage of ICTs in four aspects of the electoral process – voter registration, voter identification, election result processing, and publication of results – improves perceived electoral integrity. The analysis reveals mixed evidence of both hope and hype. The findings indicate that countries using “biometric data” in voter identification at polling stations are more likely to have elections with higher levels of perceived electoral integrity. Contrastingly, countries using “electronic tabulation” for processing results are more likely to have elections with decreased levels of perceived electoral integrity.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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