Fairness of elections, voter turnout and clientelism under authoritarianism: A Theoretical Essay





elections, fair elections, perception declaration of voters, authoritarianism, Clientelism


The purpose of the article is to analyze the declaration of voters under authoritarianism. A study of the impact of perceptions of election integrity. The comparative qualitative study of monographs and scientific articles published on this topic was chosen as the research methodology. Along with the results of official parties and candidates, the high declaration is no less important component of electoral success, than the main indicator of the quality of democracy. The introduction explains that political science today knows a lot about the factors influencing voter turnout in democracies (old and new). But much less attention has been paid to the question: How do electoral fairness and integrity affect voter turnout in authoritarian settings? In the main part of the article, it is justified that both in democracies and under authoritarian regimes, participation in elections is positively related to integrity. Autocrats' interest in increasing voter turnout means they have good reason to care about the integrity of elections. However, the benefits of election integrity are secondary to them. Even when the election results pose minimal threat to them, they can easily ignore them. In addition, alternative mechanisms can be employed to increase disclosure rates, and strict authoritarian regimes have a whole arsenal of more powerful mechanisms to do so than liberalized regimes. It is also important that the combination of relatively honest elections with strict authoritarianism pushes opposition-oriented voters to strategic absenteeism. According to research, the most rational strategy for autocrats is one in which the public perceives the counting of votes as relatively honest, but at this time the emphasis is placed on the mobilization of loyal voters through the influence of party and/or media mechanisms. The concluding section notes that if the optimal balance between these elements is achieved, autocrats can take into account that different electoral irregularities affect voter turnout in different ways. Some aspects of dishonest elections—for example, unfair electoral laws—will have a significant impact on election results but have almost no effect on turnout.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Teimuraz Kareli, Ilia State University

Institute of Political Science


კახნიაშვილი, ავთანდილ. „ნაციონალური არჩევნების“ სპეციფიკა. სამართლებრივი სახელმწიფო სამართლიანი არჩევნების გარეშე?! - http://www.resonancedaily.com/index.php?id_rub=11&id_artc=162234 ნანახია 30.08.22

ISFED. (2021). საზოგადოების დამოკიდებულება საარჩევნო პროცესების მიმართ. საქართველოს მოსახლეობის წარმომადგენლობითი კვლევის შედეგები

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Bl-YApw_b7yuocKYS2CC5LqDSZ-UvMUO/view ნანახია 19.08.22

ISFED.(2022). სახელმწიფო რესურსები მმართველი პარტიის სამსახურში:ამომრჩევლების მოსყიდვის და უკანონო მობილიზების აპრობირებული მეთოდები საქართველოში (2022). https://isfed.ge/geo/angarishebi/sakhelmtsifo-resursebi-mmartveli-partiis-samsakhurshi-amomrchevlis-moskidvisa-da-ukanono-mobilizebis-aprobirebuli-metodebi-saqartveloshi ნანახია 17.12.2022.

Dahl, R.A. (1998). On democracy. – New Haven: Yale univ. press,. – 217 p.

Gandhi, J., Lust-Okar E. (2009). Elections under authoritarianism // Annual review of political science. – Palo Alto, California. – Vol. 12. – P. 403–422.

Goodnow R., Moser R.G., Smith T. (2014). Ethnicity and electoral manipulation in Russia // Electoral studies. – Amsterdam, – Vol. 36. – P. 15–27.

Howard, M.M., Roessler P.G. (2006). Liberalizing electoral outcomes in competitive authoritarian regimes // American journal of political science. – N.Y.,– Vol. 50, N 2. – P. 365–381.

Lust-Okar, E. (2006). Elections under authoritarianism: Preliminary lessons from Jordan // Democratization. – L.,– Vol. 13, N 3. – P. 456–471.

Lijphart, A. (1999). Patterns of democracy: Government forms and performance in thirty-six countries. – New Haven: Yale univ. press, – 368 p.

Lindberg, S.I. (2005). Consequences of electoral systems in Africa: A preliminary inquiry // Electoral studies. – Amsterdam,– Vol. 24, N 1. – P. 41–64.

Magaloni, B., Kricheli R. (2010). Political order and one-party rule // Annual review of political science. – Palo Alto, California, 2010. – Vol. 13. – P. 123–143.

Malesky, E., Schuler P. (2009). Paint-by-numbers democracy: The stakes, structure, and results of the 2007 Vietnamese national assembly election // Journal of Vietnamese studies. – Berkeley,– Vol. 4, N 1. – P. 1–48.

Schattschneider, E.E. (1960).The semisovereign people: A realist’s view of democracy in America. – N.Y.: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, – 147 p.

Schedler, A. (2002).The nested game of democratization by elections // International political science review. – Beverly Hills, CA, – Vol. 23, N 1. – P. 103–122.

Schedler, A. (2002a) The Menu of Manipulation // Journal of Democracy. 2002. Vol. 13. № 2. P. 36–50.




How to Cite

Kareli, T. (2023). Fairness of elections, voter turnout and clientelism under authoritarianism: A Theoretical Essay. TRANSACTIONS OF TELAVI STATE UNIVERSITY, (1(35). https://doi.org/10.52340/tuw.2022.01.35.29