Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Morris B. Bidjerano
Contenders disputing electoral results in Sub-Saharan African countries often attribute defects in presidential electoral processes to the implementation of rules and procedures. Yet despite the considerable decision-making authority poll workers are entrusted with and the significance of the tasks performed by therm, scholars have not closely investigated poll workers'contributions to elections' management in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using principal-agent theory as the foundation, the purpose of this case study was to examine the challenges encountered in the organization of the presidential election in Togo, held on April 25, 2015, with a particular emphasis on poll workers' job performance. Research questions focused on whether poll workers in Togo have the ability and the resources necessary to carry out quality elections and the perceived effects of poll workers' performance on the integrity of the presidential electoral process. Data were obtained from interviews with 11 purposely selected poll workers and review of social media audio and video records of the election. These data were inductively coded and subjected to thematic analysis. A key finding was that deficiencies in poll workers' performance reflect a complex interplay of ill-conceived legal framework, lack of infrastructure, poor training, personal ineptitude, underfunding, partisanship, and tribalism. Further findings indicated that poll workers performing poorly resulted in long lines of voters, voter suppression, inaccuracies in vote counts, and delay in results announcement. Implications for positive social change include election practitionners' increased awareness that improving the quality of service delivery to voters on election day may foster confidence in and legitimacy of election results, seen as prerequisite to peaceful presidential elections in this part of the world.