Electoral Malpractice

Electoral malpractice pertains to any illicit or unethical conduct occurring within the electoral process, intending to manipulate election outcomes or compromise its impartiality. It manifests in various forms and can be orchestrated by individuals, groups, or even state entities. The following are instances of electoral malpractice: Voter Suppression: Employing tactics to dissuade or hinder specific […]

Electoral malpractice pertains to any illicit or unethical conduct occurring within the electoral process, intending to manipulate election outcomes or compromise its impartiality. It manifests in various forms and can be orchestrated by individuals, groups, or even state entities. The following are instances of electoral malpractice:

  1. Voter Suppression: Employing tactics to dissuade or hinder specific individuals or groups from voting, such as restrictive voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, gerrymandering, or restricting early voting options.
  2. Ballot Stuffing: Involves casting fraudulent votes by adding counterfeit ballots or manipulating the vote-counting process, including stuffing ballot boxes or tampering with electronic voting machines.
  3. Intimidation and Violence: Utilizing intimidation or violence to sway voters or obstruct their participation in the electoral process, encompassing physical attacks, threats, or coercion targeting voters, candidates, or election officials.
  4. Misinformation and Disinformation: Disseminating false or misleading information to influence voter behaviour or erode trust in the electoral process through channels like social media, fake news websites, or propaganda campaigns.
  5. Buying Votes: Involves bribery or coercion to sway voters in favour of a specific candidate or party, often entailing offering money, gifts, or other incentives in exchange for votes.
  6. Electoral Fraud: Encompasses various fraudulent activities, including forging signatures, tampering with absentee ballots, double voting, or manipulating the vote-counting process.
  7. Coercion and Manipulation of Candidates: Targeting candidates through tactics like blackmail, threats, or efforts to manipulate the electoral campaign process to disadvantage specific individuals.

Forms of Electoral Malpractices in Nigeria include the compilation of fictitious names, illegal creation of separate voter lists, falsification of election figures, abuse of voter list exercises, allowing underage voting, harassment, intimidation, and victimization of candidates, agents, and voters, manipulation of the process by the ruling party, and corruption and bias at various election tribunals.

Causes of Electoral Malpractices in Nigeria are rooted in the desire to perpetuate one ethnic group or party in power at the expense of others, driven by selfish interests and ethnic/cultural hegemony. The influence of the PDP since May 29th, 1999, and the long years of military rule coupled with external influences are contributory factors.

Preventing Electoral Malpractices in Nigeria involves proper delimitation of constituencies based on equal population representation, ensuring the electoral body’s true independence and non-partisanship, meticulous compilation of eligible voter lists, displaying voter registers to remove deceased names and include qualified individuals, and implementing adequate security measures to create a conducive atmosphere for voters to exercise their rights.

Electoral malpractice undermines democratic principles, erodes public trust, and can lead to illegitimate outcomes. Governments, election monitoring bodies, civil society organizations, and citizens play crucial roles in detecting and preventing such malpractices to ensure the integrity of elections.

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