POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Contested Election Results

If faults occur in the organization of an election, they can lead to a different election result, making the election result contestable.

Elections can be contested for a certain legal period after the election results are made public. If the results have not been successfully contested after a certain period of time, the result is made official. The time limit is constituted in state, provincial or national laws as well as the respective bylaws of the institution.

Reasons to contest election results are for example:

  • Mistakes in the electoral roll
  • Infringements of the electoral law
  • Infringements in the voting procedure

When massive violations of electoral law or electoral principles occur, an election can also be declared entirely void.

In case contesting the election is successful, re-elections need to take place. This power is usually held in the hands of local courts of law.

Elections that are held by acclamation can be easily contested. This can happen frequently at AGMs where a show of hands may be too imprecise. Paper ballots are often used in a secondary election for higher accuracy but at a significant cost of time.

See also: Abstained votes, Election results, By-election, Election principles , Elections, Spoilt vote

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