Professor of Political Science
Director of the International Studies Program
University of California at San Diego
“Using Technology to Detect and Suppress Electoral Fraud”
Thursday, October 11, 2012
12:30 pm - C103 Hesburgh Center
Promoting accountable government is a principal foreign policy goal of industrialized democracies. One of the most important and enduring tactics of the international community to promote democratization is the use of impartial observers to detect fraud. Despite the billions of dollars spent on hundreds of such missions over the last generation, there exists little to no evidence that these efforts improve the quality of elections. We report on our work designed to improve the rigor of election monitoring. Our project sought to detect and reduce electoral fraud during Uganda’s February 2011 general election by using a randomized control trial (RCT) design, IT, and hundreds of Ugandan researchers. Using only a letter informing polling station managers that researchers will take a photograph of their final posted tallies, the project reduced fraudulent results by up to 30 percent.