An election is considered the greatest “weapon” of democracy, which is widely considered the most perfect form of government. However, there have been many recorded cases in which elections were sullied by violence, fraud, corruption, and bribery, and as a result had the exact opposite results than a fair and democratic election is supposed to have. In case you were wondering which elections have been the most fraudulent in history, check out the following 25 fraudulent political elections.
Sri Lankan parliamentary elections (2000)
These elections were considered one of the most violent in modern times since seventy people were killed during the campaign, including six on Election Day alone. Both the UNP and SLMC parties openly accused the reigning and winning People’s Alliance Party of fraud and intimidation; a claim that most international observers agreed with too.
New York gubernatorial election (1792)
The 1792 New York gubernatorial election was held in April to elect the governor and lieutenant governor and is remembered for being one of the most fraudulent in American history. John Jay received more votes than George Clinton, but on technicalities the votes of Otsego, Tioga, and Clinton counties were disqualified and not canvassed, giving George Clinton a slight majority in the official results.
Ukrainian parliamentary elections (2014)
Well, I don’t know how to put it better but a Neo-Nazi Party (People’s Front) earned the most seats in the parliament of a European country whose people over a half century ago had fought bravely against Hitler as part of the Soviet Union. If not fraudulent exactly, this was one messed up election for sure.
Hungarian parliamentary election (1947)
The Hungarian parliamentary elections of 1947, which would be the last democratic ones until 1990 and the collapse of communism in the region, went down in history as the “blue-ballot” elections. The Hungarian Communist Party, which had lost the previous election, consolidated its power in the interim using violence, threats, and intimidation. This fact, combined with the weakening of the opposition and a revised electoral law, led to further communist gains.
US presidential election (1960)
Various polls and studies have shown that John F. Kennedy is the most loved and admired US president of the past hundred years but his victory in the presidential election of 1960 is considered one of the most controversial as well. Some accounts claimed that mobster Sam Giancana and his Chicago crime syndicate played a role in Kennedy’s victory in Illinois.
Russian presidential election (1996)
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and just before Putin transformed Russia into a superpower again there was a short period where Russia was a shadow of its former glorious self. Boris Yeltsin and his controversial victory in the 1996 presidential election was just another black eye in that dark time for Russia and many political analysts openly described the election as highly fraudulent, favoring Yeltsin.
Chadian presidential election (1996)
The Chadian presidential election held in the African country on June 2, 1996, was the first multiparty presidential election in the country’s history since its independence. However, the election was marred by widespread and credible reports of electoral fraud and government intimidation of opposition forces, confirmed by local and international observers alike.
Belarusian presidential election (2006)
The Belarusian presidential election of 2006 was an absolute triumph for Alexander Lukashenko, who received 84.4 percent of the vote. However, Western observers deemed the elections rigged. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) declared that the election “failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections.”
Turkish presidential election (2014)
The election was heavily criticized by both the political opposition and international observers for blatant media bias in favor of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, corruption allegations, the inaccuracy of opinion polls, and the misuse of official public resources during Erdoğan’s campaign. For the record, Erdoğan won the presidency as was expected and many Turkish journalists have accused him of acting like he’s something between a Roman emperor and a god.
Syrian presidential election (2014)
The Syrian presidential election of June 2014 was the first multicandidate election in decades since the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party came to power in a coup. Because of the ongoing Syrian civil war, the Syrian refugee population voted in certain foreign countries at Syrian embassies several days before voting took place in Syria. As a result of this, domestic- and foreign-based Syrian opposition groups boycotted the election.
Canadian federal election (2011)
The 2011 Canadian federal election was held to elect members to the House of Commons of the 41st Canadian Parliament, and went down as “The Robocall Scandal.” This scandal involved allegations that robocalls and real-person calls designed to result in voter suppression were employed and that a computer in the Guelph Conservative campaign office had possibly been used to make the calls. Who would have thought the Canadians could ever do such a thing?
Thai general election (2006)
Due to the election results and most likely because King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand didn’t approve of the winner, Thaksin Shinawatra took the unprecedented step of calling the elections undemocratic and soon after the election was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court. New elections were scheduled for October 2006, but were canceled when the military overthrew the government.
Ukrainian presidential election (2004)
The Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 was held in a highly charged political atmosphere, with allegations of media bias, voter intimidation, and a poisoning of candidate Yushchenko with dioxin. Most International observers reported that this election was one of the most controversial elections worldwide in recent years.
New Hampshire Senate election phone-jamming scandal (2002)
The 2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone-jamming scandal involved the use of a telemarketing firm hired by the state’s Republican Party to commit election tampering. The tampering involved using a call center to jam the phone lines of a get out the vote (GOTV) operation. Eventually over nine hundred calls were made for forty-five minutes disrupting the Democrat-leaning get out the vote operation.
Egyptian presidential election (2005)
The Egyptian presidential election of 2005 was the first allegedly contested presidential election in Egypt’s history and one of the most controversial, too. Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, won a fifth consecutive six-year term in office, with official results showing he won 88.6 percent of the vote. However, Mubarak’s opponent, Ayman Nour, claimed that prior polling results showed that he had received over thirty percent of the votes and not just the seven percent the “official” results stated he received.
US presidential election (2000)
We all remember the infamous recount of the votes in the state of Florida where the American presidency was decided in those highly controversial elections. Winning this election, George W. Bush became the fourth president in US history who failed to win a plurality of the popular vote. The aftermath of these elections was marked by numerous polls and studies that have reached conflicting opinions on who should have really won.
Peruvian general election (2000)
The Peruvian general elections of 2000 were highly controversial and widely considered to have been fraudulent. Incumbent president Alberto Fujimori won the election and a third term in office. However, the elections were tainted with allegations of unconstitutionality, bribery, structural bias, and outright electoral fraud. Alejandro Toledo boycotted the second round of the general election, in which over thirty percent of the ballots were declared invalid. Ultimately, Fujimori called for new elections, fled Peru, and faxed in his resignation from a hotel in Japan.
US presidential election (1876)
This was undoubtedly the most controversial US presidential election in history (the nominees were Samuel J. Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes) and was finally resolved by the Compromise of 1877. The Compromise of 1877 was an informal, unwritten deal that settled the intensely disputed presidential election, pulled federal troops out of state politics in the South, and ended Reconstruction.
Romanian general election (1946)
The Romanian general election of 1946, which resulted in the victory of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) and its allies, was held according to Western observers in the confines of a strict military environment and it was reported that a number of intimidation tactics were used during the process. Additionally, this election marked the fall of the Romanian monarchy and the proclamation of a communist regime that would later become the darkest political era of Romania’s modern history.
Uruguayan general election (1971)
The result of the Uruguay general election of 1971 was highly controversial and very tight. The winning candidate, Juan María Bordaberry, won the election by less than 13,000 votes. Additionally, there were accusations of fraud in some electoral circuits and that Bordaberry had used the military in many cases to force civilians to vote for him. These accusations were proven true only a couple of years later when Bordaberry dissolved the General Assembly and was widely regarded as ruling by decree as a military-sponsored dictator until disagreements with the military led to his being overthrown before his term in office expired.
Philippine presidential election (1986)
The 1986 Philippine presidential election was marred by electoral fraud as well as violence. The International Observer Delegation concluded that the election of February 7 was not conducted in a free and fair manner. Shortly after the elections the so-called People Power Revolution followed, where more than two million Filipinos, as well as several political and military individuals and religious groups protested all over Manila.
Burmese general election (1990)
May 27, 1990, was supposed to be a great day for Burma’s political system since the first multiparty elections in over thirty years were taking place, after the country had been ruled by a military dictatorship for all that time. However, and despite the clear victory of the Democratic Party who took 392 of the 492 seats, the military junta refused to recognize the results and respect the people’s votes, and ruled the country as the State Peace and Development Council until 2011.
Algerian legislative election (1991)
We could make a list of all the things that made the Algerian legislative election fraudulent and controversial, but the simple fact that these elections were canceled by a military coup after the first round, triggering the Algerian Civil War that is estimated to have cost somewhere between 44,000 and 150,000 lives, should tell you the story.
Mexican general election (1988)
During the vote count for the shameful Mexican general election of 1988 the government claimed that the computers had crashed, characterizing it as “a breakdown of the system.” Although the early results showed that Cárdenas was winning comfortably, when the computers were “repaired,” his political opponent, Salinas, had supposedly eked out a narrow victory.
Years later, a former president of Mexico, Miguel de la Madrid, admitted to the New York Times that the 1988 general election had been rigged to make the Institutional Revolutionary Party win, and that three years after the election, all ballots were burned in order to remove all evidence of the fraud.
The Bleeding Kansas election (1855)
Arguably the most violent and bloody in US history the infamous Bleeding Kansas election is considered by many historians one of the events that triggered the American Civil War. The election was supposed to decide whether Kansas should be a free or a slave state, involving massive immigration to sway the vote resulting in post-election violence, including a severe beating of a senator by a congressman.