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Lioy, A (2021)

The blank ballot crisis: a multi-method study of fraud in the 2006 Italian election

Contemporary Italian Politics.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: 10.1080/23248823.2021.1955190

Abstract: Among European democracies, Italian elections have usually seen high levels of protest voting. Then in the 2006 election the number of blank ballots suddenly dropped by one million following the adoption of a new electoral system. This unprecedented change in electoral behaviour, and a margin of victory of 25,000 votes, raised suspicions of electoral fraud. Given that electoral fraud is more commonly associated with voter turnout than with protest voting, it is surprising that the academic literature has neglected this election. A lack of statistical assessment makes this unforeseen event exceptionally suited to the elaboration of a more universal approach to the investigation of voter fraud. For this purpose, this study applies a combination of Benford’s law, distributional tests and regression modelling to the Italian data. Three levels of disaggregation along regional and partisan lines are used to increase the homogeneity in the data. The results are compelling, showing widespread statistical anomalies in the 2006 election, and e ect sizes large enough to alter the political outcome. This article concludes that the possibility of regional-level fraud cannot be ruled out, and that the evidence supplements the scholarly work on electoral manipulation in democracies.

@article{, author = {Alberto Lioy}, title = {The blank ballot crisis: a multi-method study of fraud in the 2006 Italian election}, journal = {Contemporary Italian Politics}, volume = {0}, number = {0}, pages = {1--30}, year = {2021}, publisher = {Routledge}, doi = {10.1080/23248823.2021.1955190}, }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): Voting Fraud