Back to: CIVIC EDUCATION JSS3
Welcome to class!
In today’s class, we will be talking about electoral malpractice. Enjoy the class!
It can be defined as the manipulation of the electoral process and outcome to benefit a particular set of people.
Any act that hinders free and fair election is known as electoral malpractice. It may be on the part of the electoral institutions to carry out elections in the proper way it is supposed to be done or on the part of voters engaging in violent activities to disturb election.
Forms of electoral malpractice
- Intimidation of voters: Voters can be unnecessarily intimidated, i.e causing fear in them by using threats or violent ways to keep them away from polling units so that they would not be able to vote for their candidate of choice, e.g. thugs stealing ballot boxes.
- The partiality of electoral officers: Because some parties or candidates might have bribed some electoral officers, they tend to be partial and favour the party candidates by adding to the ballot papers that have been thumb-printed on, therefore declaring such candidates as winners.
- Underage voting: This is done by allowing those who are not adults to vote, i.e. those that are below 18 years. Some politicians do this to win elections.
- Multiple registrations: some qualified/eligible voters register more than once to have access to vote in more than one polling unit. This act usually has the backing of the politicians or candidates.
- Inflation of election result: the electoral officers in charge of counting votes mostly do this. They add to the number or outcome of result to ensure that a particular candidate who is not supposed to win emerged as the winner.
- Keeping of electoral materials: The electoral officers can deliberately hide some of the electoral materials to slow down the election process and to sell to politicians who can pay or bribe them.
Causes of electoral malpractice
- Power: The main cause of electoral malpractice is the crave for power by politicians. Because they want to have access to our political offices, by all means, they get involved in electoral malpractice.
- Poverty: The poor state of citizens in a country makes them do anything to get money and food on their table. When politicians offer them token to be involved in bad things, they do not hesitate irrespective of the fact that they know the right thing to do.
- Lack of political education: illiteracy and lack of political enlightenment on the part of citizens does not make them know their right. Most of them are being cheated without being aware and do not know the implications of electoral malpractice.
- Bribery and corruption: This also goes a long way in influencing electoral malpractice. Officers on duty electoral officers and even voters do not hesitate to collect or ask for a bribe as it is seen as a norm in the society.
- Foreign influence: Most of the time, the influence of other powerful countries interested in the leadership of a particular country can influence and affect the smooth running of the electoral process and disrupt a free and fair election.
Ways of preventing electoral malpractice in Nigeria
- Proper training of security operatives, electoral staffs and politicians on political and electoral processes.
- Implementing strict punishment to people involved in electoral malpractice to serve as a lesson to others.
- Every electoral system that has a loophole should be reformed.
- Equipping the electoral bodies properly with equipment needed to carry out a credible election.
- Any politician found guilty of electoral malpractice should be banned ultimately from politics.
- Pressure groups and NGOs should rise and oppose electoral malpractice.
- Citizens should be properly educated about the disadvantages of electoral malpractice.
- Use of advanced technology to detect and prevent multiple registrations and voting.
In our next class, we will be talking about the Democratic Process. We hope you enjoyed the class.
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