Chronicle of an election foretold: The 2017 Bolivian judicial elections

Amanda Driscoll, Michael J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On December 3, 2017, Bolivian voters went to the polls to vote for their national judges. Bolivia is the only country in modern world history to use direct elections to select its judges, and the adoption and implementation of these elections has been highly contentious. We report on this election and contend that though formally compliant with the Bolivian Constitution, the mas supermajority used its powers to limit the ability of the public to make its voice heard in an electorally meaningful way. Voters registered their discontent by spoiling more ballots than in any election in Bolivian history. Relying on original survey data as well as municipal-level election returns, we demonstrate that candidates’ electoral fates in this election were tied more closely to their position on the ballot than their ascriptive characteristics or professional qualifications, and voters’ decisions to cast spoiled votes correlate strongly with their dissatisfaction with the broader mas political project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-64
Number of pages24
JournalPolitica y Gobierno
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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