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Ballot Box Stuffing

“Ballot box stuffing” is a term that refers to the practice of illegally submitting more than one vote in a ballot in which just one vote is actually permitted.

The goal is ballot box stuffing is to rig the outcome of an election in favor of one candidate over another.

The term is often synonymous with “electoral fraud” or “voting irregularities.” One tactic is leveraging the “cemetery vote.

While not widespread in the United States, the practice of stuffing the ballot box is considered common in corrupt countries such as Russia.

As described by a 2018 Associated Press article:

CCTV footage of a voting station in the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy shows a woman taking a ballot from a table, looking around to see if anyone is watching, then putting it in the box. She repeats the action, again and again.

And from a 2012 Foreign Policy magazine article:

Sometimes election fraud can be laughingly obvious. When Vladimir Putin took 99.8 percent of the vote in Chechnya in this year’s Russian presidential election, it probably wasn’t because the republic where he had violently crushed an armed insurgency a little more than a decade ago had developed an overwhelming affection for him.

However, ballot box stuffing is certainly not limited to Russia.

A 2019 New York Times article reported on alleged ballot box stuffing in the election in Afghanistan:

Abdul Wahed Nasery, another elder from the district, said local strongmen had stuffed the boxes. ‘They sat together, and each filled for their guy. They were saying, ‘We can’t leave these boxes empty,’ Mr. Nasery said. ‘We said, ‘But what about the biometric verification?’ ‘They said, ‘Who is going to look?’

ballot box stuffing cartoon

During the presidential election in 2020, a push was made to start using mail-in ballots for elections to replace in-person voting due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Many Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, suggested that mail-in ballots were more susceptible to “ballot box stuffing” than traditional voting methods, though no evidence existed to corroborate that claim.

Use of “Ballot Box Stuffing” in a sentence

  • The allegations of ballot box stuffing in the recent election sparked widespread public outrage and demands for a thorough investigation.
  • The act of ballot box stuffing, in which fraudulent votes are added to the total, undermines the integrity of the electoral process and erodes public trust in democracy.
  • Efforts to prevent ballot box stuffing, such as implementing secure ballot boxes and increasing oversight of the voting process, are crucial for ensuring fair and transparent elections.