Election Fraud

corrupt practices

corrupt practices, in politics, fraud connected with elections. The term also refers to various offenses by public officials, including bribery, the sale of offices, granting of public contracts to favored firms or individuals, and granting of land or franchises in return for monetary rewards. Election fraud may consist of efforts to influence or intimidate the voter or to tamper with the official ballot or election count. To eliminate these practices nearly all democratic nations have passed laws that attempt to safeguard the honesty of political campaigns, elections, and officials. In Great Britain the Acts of 1883 and 1918, frequently amended, define election abuses and limit political spending by or on behalf of candidates for Parliament. In the United States individual states have their own election laws, preceding federal statutes. In large cities of the United States election fraud has historically been associated with political machines (see bossism). On the federal level, the Corrupt Practices Act of 1925, the Hatch Act of 1940, parts of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, and the campaign financing legislation of 1974 were attempts to limit campaign spending and the size of contributions. Requiring public disclosure and providing public funding of the presidential campaign were in response to abuses connected with secret campaign funds used in the 1972 presidential election (see Watergate affair). Subsequently, the Senate and the House established ethics committees and codes of conduct, and required public accounting of income and campaign contributions. The Ethics Act of 1978 and the stricter Government Ethics Reform Act of 1989 bar top government officials from lobbying private corporations or other governments for specified periods after leaving office. The latter act also bars former executive branch officials, congressmen, and their staff members from trying to influence senior employees in their former branches for one year after they leave office. These reforms, however, have not prevented the proliferation of Political Action Committees, a marked increase in campaign spending, and the creative use of loopholes, such as "soft money" for party-building, with no contribution limits. The term "corrupt practices" has also been applied to businesses and labor unions, in the former case for price fixing, and in the latter for misappropriation of funds or the rigging of union elections.

See G. Thayer, Who Shakes the Money Tree? American Campaign Financing Practices from 1789 to the Present (1973); M. Clarke, ed., Corruption (1984); W. J. Chambliss, On the Take (2d ed. 1988); P. M. Stern, The Best Congress Money Can Buy (1988); Congressional Quarterly Editorial Research Reports (1989); M. P. and P. Glazer, The Whistleblowers (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Election Fraud: Selected full-text books and articles

Securing the Integrity of American Elections: The Need for Change
Texas Review of Law & Politics, Vol. 9, No. 2, Spring 2005
Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy
R. Michael Alvarez; Thad E. Hall.
Princeton University Press, 2008
Voting Technology and the Law: From Chads to Fads and Somewhere in Between
Yang, Elizabeth M.; Gaines, Kristi.
Social Education, Vol. 68, No. 6, October 2004
Vote Fraud in the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Public Opinion in the Challenge to Voter Identification Requirements
Ansolabehere, Stephen; Persily, Nathaniel.
Harvard Law Review, Vol. 121, No. 7, May 2008
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Fearing Fear Itself: Photo Identification Laws, Fear of Fraud, and the Fundamental Right to Vote
Heller, Joel A.
Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 6, November 2009
Picture Perfect: A Critical Analysis of the Debate on the 2002 Help America Vote Act
Ruda, Gabrielle B.
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 1, November 2003
Election Law Violations
Rothschild, David C.; Wolinsky, Benjamin J.
American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2009
The Republican War on Voting: Inside the GOP's Vote-Suppression Playbook, 2001-2008
Levine, Art.
The American Prospect, Vol. 19, No. 4, April 2008
Don't Save the Date: How More Restrictive State Voter Registration Deadlines Disenfranchise Minority Movers
Lee, Andrea M.
Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Vol. 43, No. 3, Spring 2010
The Fraudulence of Voter Fraud
Bleifuss, Joel.
In These Times, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 2007
Structure, Process, and Party: Essays in American Political History
Peter H. Argersinger.
M. E. Sharpe, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "New Perspectives on Election Fraud in the Gilded Age"
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