Electoral contexts that impede voter coordination

Brian F. Crisp, Santiago Olivella, Joshua D. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


An electorate can effectively coordinate on the viable parties in its district, or a relatively large proportion of its voters may "waste" their votes on parties that fail to obtain office. Avoiding wasted votes can be more or less difficult depending on several characteristics of the electoral context. Unfortunately, many of the features of electoral contexts hypothesized to cause vote wastage have been tested piecemeal on only a handful of (non-random) cases and/or with data inappropriately aggregated to the national, rather than the district, level. Based on results from 2007 districts in 183 lower chamber elections across 21 countries, we find evidence that new electoral rules, the entry of new parties, past electoral volatility, and high district magnitudes are all likely to make coordination a challenge, with entry by new parties having the largest, most consistent effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


  • Coordination failure
  • Electoral coordination
  • Electoral viability
  • Wasted votes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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