Crafting Electorates, Reshaping Borders: Foreign Occupation, Plebiscites, and Electoral Manipulation

Fall 2023 Center Grant Recipients

Chris Carter (Politics)
Daniel Gingerich (Politics)

Many occupier governments seek to permanently integrate occupied territories into their national borders. Often, they pursue this goal through plebiscites, holding legitimate or sham elections to determine whether a given people will remain under occupier control or reintegrate into the nation-state to which they previously belonged. This paper analyzes how occupier governments manipulate plebiscites to bias outcomes in their favor. We examine the case of Tacna, a Peruvian region occupied by Chile between 1883 and 1929. We construct and analyze a dataset of over 3,000 individuals inscribed in a 1926 plebiscite to decide Tacna’s fate.