Brief 11: Election Observers and Fraud in Ghana

  • Electoral fraud operates differently in constituencies with low levels of partisan competition (party strongholds) than it does in competitive constituencies. Political parties can more effectively relocate fraud within their strongholds, which means that electoral observers will have more impact in preventing spillover when deployed to strongholds.
  • Election observers are an effective way of reducing fraud, even in the long-term. Although parties in Ghana have had years to find ways of getting around election observers, CODEO’s monitors still reduce fraud overall.
  • However, electoral observers need to be concerned about spillover as well. There is clear evidence of spillovers to nearby polling places. Innovations that seek to reduce this effect, particularly in less competitive constituencies, could make more effective use of resources directed at election monitoring.