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Talk at Georgetown University, Trust Us: Technical Election Assistance and Post-Election Violence

March 2, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Co-sponsored by the MA in Democracy and Governance Program

You are invited to attend:

Trust Us: Technical Election Assistance and Post-Election Violence

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 from 12:00 PM1:30 PM

Intercultural Center (ICC) – #662

Peaceful elections are a cornerstone of democracy, and several international organizations work hard to help countries make elections more credible and more peaceful. Technical election assistance seeks to build domestic capacity and improve the credibility of election commissions, yet its effects remain understudied and unresolved. Can technical election assistance reduce post-election violence? Using data on technical election assistance and original data on post-election violence in Latin America and Africa since 1990, I present statistical results indicating that the answer is “yes.” Technical election assistance is significantly associated with a reduction in post-election violence. I then examine two mechanisms that can help explain this relationship between assistance and reduced violence: increasing the capacity and credibility of the national election commission, thus securing the loser’s consent. When candidates/parties see the electoral commission as capable and credible, they are more likely to regard the announced result as fair, which in turn can lower incentives for election challenges and violence after voting. I show that the election commission is seen as more trustworthy and losers are indeed more likely to consent to the election result when technical support has been provided, while the capacity mechanism seems less supported by the data. Overall, the analyses suggest that technical election assistance can be an effective tool of conflict management.

About our speaker: lnken von Borzyskowski is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Florida State University. She received her PhD in 2014 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Free University Berlin in 2014-2015. Before that, she was a pre-doctoral research fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, and at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on the domestic politics of international relations with an emphasis on international organizations and their effect on domestic conflict and elections.

RSVP Essential by February 29, 2016 – A light lunch will be available


Georgetown University
DC United States


Georgetown Univeristy Conflict Resolution Program
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