Social media summary about Mexico 2012 elections: Digital Failure
Electoral corruption is understood by any act or procedure that goes against the legitimate and free exercise of the right of suffrage, which usually results in an alteration and adulteration of the genuine will of the voters and a distortion of election results.
The word derives from the Latin corruptus corruption, which means decay, rot or decay. Modern and in a very general sense, corruption can be defined as the unlawful use of state power, established to meet the public interest or common good, for the purpose of profit or personal gain or advantage or disadvantage to others. It is thus of public or political corruption, of which both state agents and private individuals. Electoral corruption is a kind of before and sister of another species widespread and mighty object of study: administrative or bureaucratic corruption.
Electoral corruption works against the purity of suffrage, a concept that summarizes all the virtues of democratic vote, which rests on two fundamental values: freedom of the elector and the truthfulness or accuracy of the count. When you want to be violent or manipulate the voter's freedom in expressing their political preferences, or tamper with the counting of the votes validly cast at the polls, the elections are denatured, deviate from its straight aim to be reduced to a farce , an assembly, by simply just save some external forms, at best provide a precarious meet the government legitimacy emanates from them.
Electoral corruption in a democratic representative is always a serious disease that affects the political system in one of its most sensitive institutions: the institution of suffrage. There are numerous electoral damage that corruption can cause the system: among others, frustrates the will of the majority of voters, harms the legitimate rights of a candidate and a political party, corrode habits underlying the political honesty, mistrust and apathy towards democratic institutions and by a complex conjugation of these and other factors, can easily trigger the dynamics leading to a crisis of legitimacy of the political system.
Electoral corruption should not be confused with electoral offenses. Corruption is discerned not by reference to criminal law (as in the case of crimes), but by reference to values about what the community believes is right in the race, values social recognition which makes them be a code of political ethics. While any misdemeanor or felony violation of electoral law, electoral corruption is the transgression of a more extensive set of rules that the law, certainly implicit in the legal ruling, but they are also registered in the doctrines of every ideology policy and a collective sense of morality.
Electoral corruption refers to behaviors that violate principles and values developed in the field of political culture, which is why the notion of electoral corruption is more directly related to education and the political environment of each society, with their habits and customs, that positive law. It is the collective consciousness about political correctness and the normal functioning of democracy that punishes certain behavior as corrupt, not the law or the judge.
In principle, it would seem that the concept of electoral corruption belongs to the sphere of public morality or collective, which is why only faults are the subject of moral sanctions. Instead, it is clear that the electoral offense belongs entirely to the realm of criminal law, because it is contrary conduct constituting a criminal law, which is actionable as such and, if demonstrated responsibility, triggering the application of a penalty . However, the boundaries between these two notions, electoral corruption and electoral crime, not always sufficiently clear. The non-criminalization of certain corrupt practices could be due to social tolerance or irregularities relating to practices that are considered somewhat benign and inevitable and therefore tolerable. The truth is that not all features of electoral corruption are criminal in the criminal statutes. Criminal law only addresses some corrupt behavior, those that cause more social harm.
In reality there is little that criminal law can do to curb electoral corruption. Corruption goes far beyond its provisions, and this will multiply in criminal types and emphasize the severity of penalties. The political system, who lives in a certain ambiguity as it relates to traditional forms of politics, does not usually have the will required to issue draconian criminal statutes election, and is inclined to an attitude of tolerance and hypocrisy. On the other hand, rarely prosecutes someone for having committed a crime of electoral nature.
More effective in fighting electoral corruption is any action that is fulfilled in the cultivation of public morality and the development of the transparency of electoral processes. In the fight against this evil we can expect better results from a non-criminal treatment of the phenomenon, consisting of measures such as citizenship education, democratic participation mechanisms, procedures for challenging election other administrative and judicial sanctions of a political (annulment of the election, permanent inability to run for elected office) politicians who engage in anti-electoral morality.
II. Methods and agents
Electoral corrupt practices can occur in any of the instances of the electoral process: before the vote (voter manipulation, obstruction of partisan activities, retention of voter identification documents, v. Gr.), During the vote ( electoral violence, voter bribery, double or multiple voting, fraudulent introduction of votes in the polls) or after the voting (vote count not valid or fictitious increase of the counts during the election).
Electoral corruption agent can be any of the protagonists of the elections, political parties, candidates, voters, individuals, election officials and, in general, any government official. Each and every one of them can be actors and promoters, from their particular field of action, violence or electoral fraud. That is why the law has had to multiply in the definition of criminal conduct numerous special subject to administrative sanctions and criminal penalties.
Of particular concern is the financing of election campaigns by political parties and the use of mass media for partisan and electoral. In order to ensure equal opportunities for all candidates and party trends and mitigate the power of money and power corrupting the electoral contests, important chapter of the Electoral Law in many countries today is on: the regulation of functioning of political parties, limitation, advertising and public funding of election expenses and access on equal terms to the media for political propaganda.
The quantity and quality of media used for electoral corruption are only limited by imagination (unfortunately very prolific in this field), the audacity and the availability of financial resources and personnel. Influence peddling, bribery, threats, violence, malfeasance, the forgery, omission or delay in exercising public functions and even criminal computer manipulation (risk they bring the progress of modern life) are part of the broad repertoire of behaviors, from the perspective of electoral sociology, are studied as electoral corruption. Many practices of electoral corruption, however, tend to escape to the provisions of a criminal nature, and would not classify them as crimes always easy. For example, the use of public office to proselytize, all the machinations own patronage (handling a captive electorate for favors usually are dispensed from a position of power in the state), financial malpractice policy.
Electoral law and regulation is exceptionally thorough, precisely because of his desire to surround guarantees the right to vote. Both zeal for the integrity of the vote, expressed great complexity of controls, ritualities, remedies and sanctions, creates the impression that justified the Electoral Law of the budget of mistrust. It happens, in fact, that without so many provisions and safeguards the suffrage would be exposed to many injuries.
The electoral corruption controls fall into three categories: preventive, punitive and corrective. In the category of preventive controls, as the word implies, consist of measures to anticipate or guard against any possible defect or fraud, are all those provisions that seek to give effect, in the organization and conduct of elections, those indispensable principles any fair election, such as fairness and responsibility of election officials, ballot secrecy, publicity of the ballot, the voter freedom, loyalty counts votes. Prevents fraud electoral organization is independent of government, political parties and candidates to be his witnesses to the polls, citizens are appointed in charge of the ballot regardless of the political organs of state and party politicians themselves, that everything that has happened during the vote count is left in a report written record, that the election day citizens enjoy immunity and therefore can not be arrested or detained except in cases of flagrante delicto. The precautions are the substance of the electoral law and are never enough to avert the danger of fraud.If the corruption is consumed, the law could suppress punitive measures and corrective actions. Punitive measures that seek to punish those responsible, may be purely administrative and consist, for example, arrest, dismissal of public employees and fines. Punitive measures can be also a criminal. Electoral Criminal Law is concerned, primarily, to suppress some behaviors of electoral corruption, for which the laws have established a growing number of criminal offenses. The Election Laws Criminal Codes of Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela provide more than 30 electoral crimes, that of Argentina 25; those of Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru and Uruguay, between 11 and 19.
Corrective measures are intended to amend the acts of choice which warn errors or annulments, which can often be due to fraudulent behavior. Normally, election laws allow, through corrective stakeholders to challenge the result of the election officials both before counting the votes and declare the election, and subsequently before the judges, that is invalidated an accumulation of votes or annul the election of whoever did not comply with certain legal requirements.
In conclusion, the best control over electoral corruption is social control, which is exercised through civic education through the media, through a modern electoral law more preventive than repressive (for example, by political subjection of a regime demanding but realistic qualities, disqualifications and incompatibilities), and various mechanisms of democratic participation (public hearings, citizen oversight, revocation of the mandate).