Elizabeth Iams Wellman, Susan D. Hyde & Thad E. Hall (2017).
Does fraud trump partisanship? The impact of contentious elections on voter confidence,
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/17457289.2017.1394865.
Fraudulent elections can reduce citizen trust in elections and other political institutions. But what about the impact of contentious elections that resolve successfully, leading to democratizing change? Do national movements toward democracy trump individual experiences with electoral manipulation? Using public opinion survey data collected before and after the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, we evaluate changes in voter confidence in electoral practices, political institutions, and democracy. Although national trends show increased voter confidence overall, subnational variation suggests pervasive partisan differences in opinions about election quality and institutional confidence. Remarkably, we find that direct exposure to fraud matters far less than anticipated; voters who were personally exposed to fraud felt no more or less confident than their co-partisans. We show that partisanship and the national electoral context may interact in ways that complicate the effects of democratizing elections, suggesting important avenues for future research.
Elizabeth Iams Wellman (2015). Diaspora Voting in South Africa: Perceptions, Partisanship, and Policy Reversal. Afrique contemporaine (4), 35-50.
This article analyzes the turbulent history of diaspora voting policy in South Africa following its celebrated transition to democracy (1994-2014). After organizing foreign voting for the watershed 1994 election, the government abolished external voting until a 2009 Constitutional Court ruling mandated widespread diaspora participation. The details of the South African case reveal an intensely partisan divide over the inclusion of South Africans abroad. Perceptions of the diaspora by the major political parties shaped both policy provision and implementation. With its two policy reversals, the case of South Africa also suggests a number of broader theoretical implications, including the critical variable of how diaspora voting becomes law, as well as the centrality of the political party as a key locus of analysis.