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Electoral Intimidation & Violence in Ghana and Newark: Can we define, measure, and explain patterns across different systems? Megan Reif Charles & Kathleen.

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Presentation on theme: "Electoral Intimidation & Violence in Ghana and Newark: Can we define, measure, and explain patterns across different systems? Megan Reif Charles & Kathleen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electoral Intimidation & Violence in Ghana and Newark: Can we define, measure, and explain patterns across different systems? Megan Reif Charles & Kathleen Manatt Democracy Studies Fellow, IFES Ph.D. Candidate, University of Michigan Thursday, September 29

2 Acknowledgements For rich resources, ideas, information, institutional and individual expertise, support, conversation, networking, advice, collaboration,… friendship… THANK YOU! With special thanks to Charles & Kathleen Manatt (All errors are mine and in no way reflect on the excellent work of IFES. To ensure accuracy and protect respondents in Newark, please cite only with permission.)

3 Test a critical assumption of the proposed long-term dissertation research with available data Identify practical issues of definition and measurement necessary to refine theory and implement research design Solicit feedback on the validity of cross- cultural/contextual, cross-level comparison (local versus national election) and what we might learn from it Compare legal contexts to begin to explore possible effects of institutional environment on violence Presentation Objectives

4 Methodology and Limitations Methodology – Developed tentative propositions and assumptions from (limited) secondary and case study literatures and election observation in Indonesia (03-04) – Coded incidents from Newark interviews and media; coding of media incidents in Ghana; entry of IFES monitor incidents in Ghana (interpreting and seeing how other interpreted events) (IFES) – Informal interviews with victims and perpetrators of electoral intimidation in Newark, NJ – Exploration of Newark, Ghana, and Iraq incidents Limitations -Case selection not designed to test theory -Deductive inferences -Incident data limited in time and space; cannot test potential explanations involving institutional change -Data not recoded for intensity scale and index creation

5 Critical Assumption Election Violence is STRATEGIC, aimed at: (1) Winning (gaining or retaining power and/or resources) (2) Protesting or signaling unfairness / seeking reform of unfair systems “It is when an electoral process is perceived as unfair, unresponsive, or corrupt, that its political legitimacy is compromised and stakeholders are motivated to go outside the established norms to achieve their objectives” (Fischer 2002, 2). (3) Discrediting or ending democracy as a system of government (insurgency) (4) Reciprocal / Escalatory (tit-for-tat or defensive response to coercive tactics by opponent)

6 Non-Strategic Conceptions of Election Violence Possible ExplanationEmpirical ExpectationImplied Intervention Symptomatic: Manifestation of ‘primordial’ or personal conflicts, played out during critical events like elections  Occurs where there is regular conflict around social cleavages  Actors involved same as those in underlying conflict  Elections foment conflict  Resolve ethnic, cleavage conflict  Law enforcement  Create a political, economic, and electoral system that addresses underlying grievances Expressive: Spontaneous, epiphenomenal manifestation of passionately held attachments  Violence random with respect location in space and time  Civic education  Law Enforcement  Public service announcements  Party control of supporters/ codes of conduct Criminality/Greed: Criminal acts taking advantage of chaos of an election and diversion of security resources  Actors are criminals  Occurs in high crime areas or areas of wealth, irrespective of electoral competitiveness  Law enforcement Epiphenomenal: Violence in queues, frustration associated with crowds, celebrations, drunkenness (e.g. Ghana crowds, insufficient police)  Violence random with respect location in space and time  Violence in poor or high population areas  Law enforcement  Restrictions on alcohol

7 Assumption of Strategic Motives Politicians... Seek to obtain or retain power and resources Have a menu of electoral strategies at their disposal View coercion as a costly substitute for non-violent electoral strategies because it risks: - Reputational costs/loss of legitimate supporters (even dictators seek legitimacy) - Prosecution and punishment - Higher probability of detection than fraud (DOJ) - Lower certainty of achieving desired outcomes Yet Fischer (2002) and IFES experience demonstrates that electoral violence is important, even when rare.

8 “People don’t think they sit around a conference room table and plan these things [electoral intimidation and violence]. They do. They know exactly what they are doing.” Candidate for Newark Board of Elections

9 Motivating Questions Given the costs of coercion, under what circumstances do politicians choose coercive electoral strategies when and where they do? Different answers imply different strategies for measurement and interpretation of violence, as well as intervention, and conflict resolution. Are the answers the same across contexts?

10 Tentative Empirical Expectations of Strategic Conception of Violence VariablesIllustrative ExpectationImplied Intervention High Stakes: (a) “Office that Matters”; (b) Resources/levers of power; (c) Probability of Win/Loss (Competitiveness), (d) Sudden appearance of viable challengers (e) Partisan public goods provision/patronage  Election violence likely where office control of policy and resources high (legal & illegal)  Violence likely in close districts/races  Violence increases with viable challengers  Impose reputational costs  Reduce personal stakes of office  Term limits  Reduce patronage, limit state/city employment Institutions: (a)Means: Administrative/enforcement quality (opportunity for fraud & nonviolence); (b)Selection: Location of SELECTION vs. ELECTION (suggests time in process to monitor) (c)Information & Uncertainty (1) Pr(violence)=desired outcome (2) Party ideology offers clear choice to voters  Change in fraud, suffrage, or ballot secrecy enforcement may increase violence  Election day violence occurs in FPTP systems  Pre-Election violence occurs in PR systems  PR, Party List, Coalition systems more prone to candidate-on-candidate violence than voter violence  SNTV, non-partisan, weak party systems more likely to be personalistic, vindictive  Electoral system change  Enforce institutional laws against violence  Monitor entire process  Improve clarity of complaint procedure  Assess how intimidation affects outcomes and create electoral remedies for intimidation Exclusion/Fairness: Parties excluded or wronged by unfair practices use violence  Banned parties victims or perpetrators of violence  Improve inclusion, suffrage, voter registration

11 Challenge of Defining and Mitigating Election Violence: Coercion and Fraud involve Creative Innovation If politicians substitute and combine tactics, will addressing one type of electoral manipulation or changing aspects of the electoral process lead to substitution with another tactic? [Examples: Costa Rica, Indonesia, Newark]

12 “Having been thwarted by increasingly sophisticated and better organized election machinery, they could turn to violence to achieve their ends.” - Danville Walker, Director of Elections, Jamaica, November 10, 2002 (quoted in Jamaica Observer)

13 Substituting Means of Electoral Manipulation in Costa Rica (1901 – 46) Molina, Iván and Fabrice Edouard Lehoucq "Political Competition and Electoral Fraud: A Latin American Case Study." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 30: 228. Secret Ballot Modern Electoral Code Mandatory Turnout Laws Nonviolent methods Coercive methods Similar patterns in Egypt, 19 th -century Kentucky, Kansas City, U.S. South

14 The Sultan’s Curse Face Buying:

15 United States Anonymous welfare and debt mailings to voters; newly covered under mail fraud laws Fake police officers in Hispanic areas in the Southwest

16 Newark Even violence that appear spontaneous may be orchestrated: Newark Booker Campaign Incident Log: “District 48: Sharpe had people outside; -- Send Visibility” Incitement / Provocation and Response [2005 Incident at Pennington Court designed to show candidate’s toughness]

17 Defining Coercion, continued Where does nonviolence end and violence begin? [Newark code enforcers (film clip)] How proximate to the election does an event have to be to “count” as election-related? Newark Mayor vetoed committed funds for social service group as punishment for support of opposition 1 month after election;birthday party fundraising occurs annually. Wilkinson (2004) argues that parties are always campaigning in India and use ethnic violence to play on fears.

18 Exploratory Assessment of Preliminary Hunches: Data, Qualitative Interviews, Glance at Legal Frameworks

19 Exploratory Research: Newark Identified incidents from any Star Ledger article pertaining to elections from date of Booker’s candidacy to inauguration date Identified 50+ potential respondents Interviewed ~25 people, including former James employees and “intimidators” who have defected to the other side Identified 38 incidents of coercion, combining media reports and campaign legal notes

20 Exploratory Research: Newark High Stakes for Incumbent Sharpe James - “Resource Curse” of Port Authority revenue and opportunities for patronage (Newark collects only 83% of taxes; most city residents are employed by City Hall) - Highest paid official in New Jersey, paid more than any Governor and the VP - “Double Dipping” and shaping rules of the game as State Senator - Highest murder rate, one of poorest cities in the most affluent U.S. State Faced first viable challenger in 2002 Employees/dependents faced job loss, campaign reform under Booker

21 Sharpe’s Bundle of Strategies Prior to 2002 City employees compelled to finance incumbent campaign (b-day tix) Transfer or termination of anyone who supports opposition council members or mayoral challengers (Dana Rone family members) Delivers votes to county, state, and national Democrats in return for favorable laws, lax enforcement in return (sign ordinances) Reputation for having “eyes and ears everywhere” deters criticism and competition (Healey Invitation) Coopts enemies with lucrative contracts or city jobs Pendergast-style largess (Turkeys and Patronage) cultivates loyalty (voters like Sharpe’s goodies better)

22 Sharpe’s Nonviolent Levers City Code enforcement Union contract negotiation Developer contracts City employees (police, etc.) Housing Authority Authorization of Federal Block Grants Large sums of unregulated revenue Year-round campaigning & fundraising getting or delivering votes up the chain (“Campaigning is a year-round job around here”)

23 Sharpe’s Desperation in 2002: Employing Election Violence can be a POSITIVE Sign of Increasing Electoral Competition Presence of viable, well-funded opponent leads to more open criticism and opposition, whereas 1998 Challenger Mildred Crump told reporters people were “terrified” to support her. Polls show James losing support in South Ward James hires consultants, conducts polls, and uses media advertising for the first time Using uniformed and off-duty police to intimidate, vandalize, and restrict opponents’ movement Hiring out-of-town street power Alleged employment of gangs Race-baiting, incitement and hate speech Escalation of economic coercion

24 Data Exploration of Non-Strategic Explanations H: Violence is Merely Symptomatic of Ethnic Cleavages: Booker Lawyers emphasized civil rights threat against Hispanics to invite Federal oversight, but the data pattern suggests James conceded Hispanic areas and intimidated in his stronghold. Interviews suggest people believe it is easy for leaders to abuse their own and get away with it A hotly-contested election turned a non-partisan, all-African American race into a racial conflict, not the other way around (See also Wilkinson 2004 on India).

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27 Data Exploration of Non-Strategic Explanations, continued H: Intimidation/Violence is Expressive of Passionate Supporters Strategic presence of mobs/crowds hired from Philadelphia Interviews suggesting crowd presence deters voting because race has been won; compels voting because voters assume their choice will be found out; or convinces voters to vote for the side that will win Cluster of incidents is non-random Incidents cluster around GOTV operations & high turnout “Newark is Gangs of New York…Tammany Hall” -- leader of Union punished for backing Booker

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29 Data Exploration of Non-Strategic Explanations, continued H: Violence is Associated with Crime Some evidence to support gang involvement on election day, but strategic not criminal involvement (“When you have the same drug dealers & criminals who instill fear in the housing projects suddenly wearing James shirts at the polls, you can imagine what people will do” – Booker lawyer) Interviewees suggest that low education and income level makes people vulnerable to manipulation and willing to commit or ignore crime DOJ: Election crimes as indicators of other corrupt activity – Corrupt leaders’ fear of losing office

30 Data Exploration of Strategic Exploration Timing of Intimidation Seems Strategic 1. Shift from pre-election deterrence of financial and volunteer support to opponent to… 2. GOTV operations on Election Day (seem to be associated with increasing support for James from ) 3. Retribution against opponents’ supporters when levers of punishment become available. (NCC; Major McGreevey Donor)

31 Pre-Election Directed to Deterring Opposing Candidate & Supporters Election Day: Directed toward VOTERS Post-Election: Directed toward INSTITUTIONS/Donors

32 Data Exploration of Strategic Exploration Location Seems Strategic 1. Clusters 2. East Ward was considered up for grabs, but any new turnout would go to Booker 3. Polls showed James weakest in South and East in 9/2001, yet he won them

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35 Practical Considerations for Definition, Measurement, Inference Number and location of incidents do not reflect level of intimidation because of combination of polling stations in key locations (higher number of districts affected than map indicates); How would we know if intimidation influences the outcome? (Booker interviewees mixed on whether election was stolen or not; unprecedented 4,000 votes in S. Ward) How do we characterize: - electricity outages in polling stations - rumors of Election Board machine tampering, - Union contract negotiation delays - Arena threat, - Strip club incident - legal harassment (parking tickets, 22 sign injunctions ($1000 ea) Rumored verses verifiable incidents? (researcher versus practitioner)

36 Methodological Considerations Choice of Sources: – Allegations (Lehoucq and Molina 2002) – Legal investigation (DOJ reported receiving over 100 incidents, with other organizations receiving more calls) (motives?) – Media Reports (Media & Culture in U.S. versus Ghana) * Acceptability of “rough and tumble” politics “Politics is war and I’m ready to fight….I’ve got a Ph.D. too, a Ph.D. in street politics....I rule the street operations.” -- Newark ward operations strongman * American complacency about what does and does not happen in U.S. * American tendency to report same incident with every new story and to summarize general trends (not conducive to the “who did what to whom where” data collection format typical of political science - Different legality for incidents (lack of a sense of outrage)

37 “The factual truth of the allegations [of intimidation and violence] is not what matters, but the perception that they are widespread and could happen to you.” “The factual truth of the allegations [of intimidation and violence] is not what matters, but the perception that they are widespread and could happen to you.” - Interview with professor forced to resign a major university position because of his criticism of Newark’s City Hall economic policies

38 Ghana Coded narratives and forms of IFES monitors in Ghana’s 2004 General Election (54 Incidents, ~6 of questionable relation to election and/or insufficient information) Supplemented with Daily Media Monitoring of paper known for lack of bias, Ghanaian Chronicle, from Registration Date to Inauguration Date (additional 16 incidents, though general reports of intimidation could not be included)

39 Methodological Issues Raised by Ghana Incidents Rolling primaries Accusations and statements against violence Coup Hoax General Reports Photography, surveillance

40 Rationale for Comparison Approximately 20% unemployment in each case (leaving out Port Authority employment in Newark) Newark Poverty Rate of 26% Incumbent with Years in Power Centralized control of state apparatus and security forces Although local, Electoral Systems are uniform only at the city level for municipal and county for state/federal elections in New Jersey

41 Ghana Incident Exploration Cross Tabulation of Timing and Nature of Incidents of Election Violence Ghana 2004 General Election (Row Percentages) IntrapartyInterpartyOtherTotal Pre-Election Incidents 17 (47%)20 (43%)9 (20%)46 Election Day3 (15%)7 (35%)10 (50%)20 Post-Election1 (16%)3 (50%)2 (33%)6 Total

42 Perpetrators and Victims of Electoral Coercion in Newark & Ghana (Column Percentages: Multiple Perpetrator Categories Mean Total Exceeds Total Incidents, Column Percentage indicates Percentage of Incidents Involving Type of Actor or Event) NewarkGhana Perpetrators NCol % N Mutual Perpetrators Leader Perpetrator Party Agent Perpetrator Party Supporter Agent of State Criminal Element Indeterminant Victims Leader Victim Party Agent Victim Party Supporter Voter Election Persons/Material

43 Severity of Tactics

44 Impact Severity

45 What Future Comparative Analysis Might Tell Us Willingness of wrong persons to file complaints System effects on type of perpetrators and victims Social/cultural and legal/institutional explanations for severity of violence used What is election violence an indicator of? Do shifts in the nature of violence (from one- sided to mutual, or two-party, suggest an important change)? Motives of victims and perpetrators Number and nature of parties (ideology, party discipline)

46 Do Institutions and Laws Matter? A deductive look at the legal framework

47 Legal Framework for Coercion 1.Right to vote 2.Legal definitions of election offences 3.Penalties and remedies for election offences 4.Enforcement (areas in need of further research) Clarity and transparency of election authority Independence of election authority Detection and prosecution of violations Statute of Limitations

48 Ghana Current Electoral Provisions 1992 Constitution, Ch. 7: Representation of the People Registration of Voters Regulations, 1968 (L.I. 587) Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284) (“RPL”) Presidential Elections Laws, 1992 (PNDCL 285) Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451) Public Elections (District Assembly) Regulations, 1993 (C.I. 4) (repeals District Assembly Election Regulations, 1988 (L.I.1396) by applying to assemblies all provisions of the Public Elections Regulations (Parliamentary)) Public Elections Regulations, 1996 (C.I. 15) (repeals Public Elections (Parliamentary) Regulations, 1992 (L.I.1537 and Amendment L.I.1544) Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574) (repeals Political Parties Law, 1992 PNDCL 281))

49 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: Ghana Right to Vote: Constitutionally guaranteed Defining Physical Coercion: “Undue Influence” and “Interference in Electioneering” include threat or use of force, abusive language, disruption of public tranquility, creating fear of spiritual or temporal injury or loss, including fear of divine displeasure in order to induce a voter to vote or not vote or a candidate to withdrawal. Criminal Penalties: (a) Cedi 1 million ($833, or 87% of average household income); (b) up to two years in prison for coercion, destruction of election materials, bribery, vote buying, etc. (c) 5 years disqualification as voter or party

50 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: Ghana Remedies (1) Immediate: (a) If violence or natural disaster interrupts polling, polling can be postponed to following day; (b) Disorderly persons or those committing offences defined above removed from polling stations and charged. (2) Electoral: Petition and 20,000 Cedi (~$8.50) can be filed by voter or candidate within 21 days of the election to the High Court.

51 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: Ghana Electoral Remedy: If the High Court rules on the basis of a petition that election offences occurred, it can: 1. Call for count or rejection of specific votes affected by offences toward possible victory for a different candidate; 2. Disqualify candidates or punish offenders if guilty of offences but affirm election result; 3. Call for fresh election “general bribery, treating, intimidation or other misconduct…have so extensively prevailed that they may be reasonably supposed to have affected the result of an election” Enforcement: Independent Election Commission

52 Ghana Electoral System First-Past-The-Post, Plurality system with single member constituencies Two-party dominant system President must receive 50%

53 U.S. Current Federal Electoral Provisions Related to Coercion U.S. Constitution: 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments; States retain broad jurisdiction over the election process Federal Statutes: Apply to elections in which the ballot includes one or more candidates running for federal office if there is intimidation of voters (18 U.S.C. § 594 and 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-10(1). 18 USC may apply in narrow circumstances to nonfederal elections involving physical threats or reprisals against candidates, voters, poll watchers, or election officials (§§ 245(b)(1)(A) ; §§); the presence of armed men at polls (592); coercion of military or federal employee voting ( ). See U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses, Sixth ed., January 1995 for elaboration of complex statutes and jurisdiction. Federal authority warranted only to “redress long-standing patterns of election abuse.” State Election Law

54 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: U.S. Right to Vote: Constitution provides explicitly for non-discrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age, but Bush v. Gore and other courts see no federally guaranteed right to vote in the constitution. (qualified citizens are eligible to vote) Some Federal Definitions of Coercion: 18 U.S.C. §241 and 242: 241: State or federal authority cannot willfully deprive a person of any right, privilege, or immunity secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States; 242: Ten- year penalty for conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate to deprive (…). Applied to cases in which voters prevented from reaching polls. Voter intimidation: threats, duress, economic coercion, or some other aggravating factor which tends to improperly induce conduct on the part of the victim. 18 U.S.C. § 594: Requires proof that the actor intended to force voters to act against their will by placing them in fear of losing something of value…money or economic benefits…liberty or safety. Speech: “Federal criminal laws are for the most part inapplicable to the tactics and rhetoric of the candidates and their agents…[to apply them] would tend to chill the free exercise of speech in the rough-and-tumble context of political campaigns.”

55 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: New Jersey Coercion (illlustrative): N.J. Stat. § 19:34-27 / 34-30: Employers cannot threaten injury, damage, harm, or loss against any person in his or her employ to induce or compel him to vote or refrain from voting….(includes enclosing political information in pay envelopes or posting it at the workplace) N.J. Stat. § 19:34-28: “No person shall, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person in his behalf, make use of, or threaten to make use of, any force, violence or restraint, inflict or threaten the infliction…of any injury, damage, harm or loss, or in any manner to practice intimidation upon or against any person, in order to induce or compel…” N.J. Stat. § 19:34-29: “No person shall by abduction or duress or any forcible or fraudulent device or contrivance whatever, impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with the free exercise of the elective franchise by any voter…”

56 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: New Jersey Penalties: A person is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, if on Election Day they do any of the following: (i) tamper, deface or interfere with any polling booth; (ii) obstruct the entrance to any polling place, or obstruct or interfere with any voter; or (iii) loiter, or do any electioneering within any polling place or within 100 feet thereof. § 19:34-6 Disenfranchisement in some cases; harsher penalties for second offenses

57 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: New Jersey Penalties: Most violations (impeding voters on election day, interfering with canvassing, etc.) are punishable as “disorderly persons” offenses (misdemeanors) An election official is guilty of a crime [felony] in the second degree for committing: (i) knowingly and willfully intimidating, threatening or coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten or coerce any person for registering to vote or attempting to vote

58 Laws Governing Electoral Coercion: New Jersey Remedies: Immediate: Any individual who believes there has been, or will be, a violation of any provisions of this title may file a complaint with the Division of Elections seeking relief or, as an alternative, file a complaint with the Superior Court. The complaint will be resolved expeditiously. [§§ 19:61-6(a); 19:61-6(g)] (Judges are available on election day) Electoral: Irregularities Complaint Log Form: Instructions of where to send it; what authority? If acts were trivial or unimportant, accidental, or did not arise from any want of good faith, the election of the candidate should not “by reason of such offense complained not be void” § 19:3-9 Unclear statute of limitations

59 Electoral Authorities: New Jersey State Law divides election responsibilities among the Elected, Partisan: The Board of Elections is responsible for staffing and managing the polling locations. The Superintendent of Elections/commissioner of Registration is responsible for establishing a 100- foot barrier around polling places to prevent electioneering. The office also manages the voting machines until Election Day. The City Clerk's office is responsible for counting the votes and certifying them. Dispute Resolution: Four Superior Court judges assigned to hear election appeals on election day pertaining to challenges, registration, etc. Prevention/Security: Routine deployment of 15 state troopers and UNPRECEDENTED deployment of U.S. Attorneys Officer observers

60 Electoral System: New Jersey Non-Partisan System: In 1953, discontent with the city's five- member commission form of government, led to a city Charter Commission and adoption of a strong nonpartisan mayor system with a nine-member council. Voters approved the measure on Nov. 3, Mayoral and council candidates must obtain 50 percent of the votes cast - plus one vote - to win, or a runoff is held one month later. Violence has marred Newark elections in the 19 th century, 1930s- 40s, and the 1970 election.

61 Institutional Reforms: What Newark Could Learn from Ghana and its Sister City, Kumasi: Independent election authority Bipartisan election authority Clear instructions for filing complaints Extending laws to include campaigning, donations Longer statute of limitations for complaints Specific penalties and electoral remedies Future research should address assessment of when a finding can be made that intimidation and violence have affected the results

62 Future Directions 1.Large-N, Multiple Regression & Interaction Effects (substitutability across tactics, effects of electoral system when stakes are high vs. low, exclusion is high vs. low) 2.Additional Variables (resources, statute of limitations) 3. Change over time (endogeneity between violence and institutional change) Election Violence Eviol time 1= f(Institutions -> Means, Stakes, Exclusion; Quality of enforcement/admin; ΔInstitutions t, t-1 ; Control variables) Endogeneity Institutions time 1 = f(Eviol t-1 ; Institutions t-1 ; Control variables)

63 Election Violence and Electoral Reform Time (Election Years) Major Reform 1 (e.g. secret ballot) Major Reform 2 (e.g. suffrage) Major Reform 3 (e.g. system, registration, admin quality) Comprehensive Reform Pre-peak: reform demands Post-peak: politician substitution + enforcement demands

64 Preliminary Evidence Bipartisan municipal election authorities in the U.S. are in areas that experienced violence (Cook Co, MO; NYC; Chicago)

65 Thank you! Discussion


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