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Incumbency preservation through electoral legislation: The case of the secret ballot

  • Jac C. Heckelman
  • Andrew J. Yates

The secret ballot was designed to eliminate the incentive for candidates to purchase votes through direct vote buying. When voters have private information on their candidate preferences, incumbent candidates will generally be less efficient in purchasing votes than their challengers. Incumbent candidates may therefore benefit from the elimination of direct vote purchasing. Viewed in this vein, passage of secret ballot laws by state legislatures can be seen as an institutional mechanism to protect their incumbency advantage, rather than as an act of necessary electoral reform to create fair elections and protect democracy. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s101010000020
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 47-57

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:3:y:2002:i:1:p:47-57
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