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Book description

Foreign influences on elections are widespread. Although foreign interventions around elections differ markedly-in terms of when and why they occur, and whether they are even legal-they all have enormous potential to influence citizens in the countries where elections are held. Bush and Prather explain how and why outside interventions influence local trust in elections, a critical factor for democracy and stability. Whether foreign actors enhance or diminish electoral trust depends on who is intervening, what political party citizens support, and where the election takes place. The book draws on diverse evidence, including new surveys conducted around elections with varying levels of democracy in Georgia, Tunisia, and the United States. Its insights about public opinion shed light on why leaders sometimes invite foreign influences on elections and why the candidates that win elections do not do more to respond to credible evidence of foreign meddling.


‘How do citizens respond to external involvement in their elections? Sarah Bush and Lauren Prather have crafted a methodologically sophisticated, conceptually novel and genuinely comparative investigation of this increasingly important question, using experimental survey designs and careful case studies to show the unexpected ways in which international election monitors and foreign electoral meddling impact perceptions of democratic legitimacy and political stability.'

Marc Lynch - Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, and Director, Project on Middle East Political Science, George Washington University

‘The international scene is increasingly crowded with actors working across borders to influence citizens' trust in elections, whether to support democracy or undermine it. When do they succeed in doing so and why? In this significant, impressive study, the authors offer deeply researched, persuasive answers to these questions.'

Thomas Carothers - Harvey V. Fineberg Chair for Democracy Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

‘Monitors and Meddlers presents a novel theoretical landscape and huge range of empirical evidence about the citizen experience in elections with foreign influence. Deeply relevant and wonderfully written. This will be a go to contribution for anyone interested in elections.'

Dustin Tingley - Professor of Government, Harvard University

‘Events of the last several years raise an increasingly urgent question for democratic theory: how do international actors influence elections? Through novel survey experiments and case comparisons, this pathbreaking book shows how outside actors – whether they be meddlers, or professional election monitors – affect citizen views about the credibility of their elections. This is a must read for policy makers, practitioners, and scholars of democracy, who want to know the potentials, limits, and possible negative consequences of international support for democratic elections.'

Stephen John Stedman - Senior Fellow, Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, Stanford University

‘Bush and Prather connect fundamental issues of democracy to the rise of globalized election influence. Drawing on psychological approaches, their book is a creative turn that speaks to broader conversations on democratic legitimacy and international/ transnational politics.'

Beth Simmons - Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics, University of Pennsylvania

‘Bush and Prather’s book is important reading for anyone concerned about the health of democracies around the world. Using innovative surveys, they carefully examine how different forms of outside involvement in elections can influence trust among citizens. It provides essential insights into leader incentives during elections and into public reactions to intervention.’

Jon C. W. Pevehouse - Vilas Distinguished Professor of Political Science: International Relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison

‘By centering citizens and their reactions to foreign influences in their own country's elections, Bush and Prather provide an insightful investigation of how both democracy promotion and partisan interference matter on the ground. They demonstrate that Who is interfering, and why, powerfully influence citizen trust in their own elections.’

Susan D. Hyde - Professor and Chair, Travers Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

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