Post-Soviet African democratization has introduced elections into contexts that often lack restraints upon the behavior of candidates, resulting in the emergence of voter intimidation, vote-buying, and ballot fraud. We propose a model of electoral competition where, although some voters oppose violence, it is effective in intimidating swing voters. We show that in equilibrium a weak challenger will use violence, which corresponds to a terrorism strategy. Similarly, a nationally weak incumbent will use repression. However, a stronger incumbent facing local competition will prefer to use bribery or ballot fraud. We discuss the applicability of the model to several African elections.
Collier, P.; Vicente, P.C. Violence, bribery, and fraud: the political economy of elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public Choice (2012) 153 (1-2) 117-147. [DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9777-z]