Agents of the Regime? Polling Station Officials and Electoral Manipulation in Kenya's 2017 Election

Spring 2018 Grant Recipient

Graduate Student

Brenton Peterson (Politics) In many newly emerging democracies, incumbent leaders use their control over election administration to gain unfair advantages at the ballot box. This study investigates the case of Keny's 2017 election - which was nullified by Keny's Supreme Court in light of widespread administrative irregularities - assessing the mechanisms by which candidates and their agents committed fraud. I study the role of election officials, who were appointed by the incumbent regime, to assess whether those officials with ethnic ties to the regime inflated vote counts in favor of their coethnic candidates. I also study whether the presence of partisan domestic election observers reduced fraud. Using data from Keny's approximately 40,000 polling stations, I am able to assess both the extent of local-level electoral fraud and the pathways by which electoral manipulation occurs.