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It's been suggested in a fairly upvoted answer to a related question that the complexity of the electoral/voting process is a main driver in beliefs in voting fraud, at least in developed countries.

Are there cross-country empirical studies on the association between the complexity of the electoral process (either operationalized objectively or merely as perceived by voters) and beliefs that fraud is occurring?

(10 up-votes, which is what that answer got insofar, might not be enough to support a q on Skeptics notability-wise, so I'm asking here.)


Somewhat related, I found a paper that does find a moderate association in Australia between belief in fraud happening and the perception that rules are too complex, but by rules there they don't mean the counting process in itself, but mainly the "complexity of the preferential system" used in Australia, although the latter does have some implications for the complexity of the counting process. Two thirds of those surveyed would have also preferred that the PM be directly elected; there was a stronger correlation between the desire for this particular rules change and the stated belief that fraud was happening.

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  • Aside: the other association that was suggested in comments there, namely with conspiratorial thinking was studied, although it's more of a psychology q journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1065912917721061 Jan 15, 2021 at 11:41
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    Seems to be based on a debatable premise, that the election process in the US actually is complex.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:21
  • @jamesqf It definitely appears complex to me as a European only observing through media coverage. 52 (or perhaps more, given non-states like DC) separate sets of rules plus the complications introduced by the "electoral college" intermediate stage. I'm not sure what a reasonable metric for complexity might be, but off the top of my head I can't think of a country that has a comparably complex sytem for presidential elections.
    – Hulk
    Jan 17, 2021 at 19:03
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    @Hulk: But European election processes seem complex when I see them though media coverage. Choosing a Prime Minister by first having a lot of local elections, then letting the party that got a majority of MPs getting to pick someone - usually their party leader? Then having to try to form coalitions if no party gets an absolute majority? And the government collapsing without notice if those coalitions fall apart? By comparison, the US system seems quite simple & predictable. Barring a successful coup, you know that the defeated President will be gone next January 20th.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 18, 2021 at 20:07
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    @jamesqf I suppose it comes down to what we define as "the election" - if we include the whole process of forming a government, then I assume it would only be fair to also include the entire process of senate approvals for all the appointed officials that are considered part of a US administration - at which point we can just give up and agree that the systems are just different enough to not be reasonably comparable at all in these terms.
    – Hulk
    Jan 19, 2021 at 6:19

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