Practitioners and politicians have long debated the wisdom of pushing countries to hold elections, with some arguing for its necessity and others warning of its futility and even danger. Yet, research on how varying types of international activities affect the conduct and structure of elections still has a long way to go to be able to inform this debate. This article discusses the myriad international forms of engagement with elections and reviews the research on their ability to improve election quality. It also explores the more nefarious international activities, which are even less well understood than the efforts to improve elections. Given the mixed outcomes and findings, much work remains to be done, especially in specifying the conditions under which various effects occur. Such work has both practical and theoretical merits and can shed light on broader scholarly inquiries about the international dimensions of democratization.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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