President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, is that only one vote you're holding? Where are the other four? You're doing your own rigged election wrong, man. (Image Source: Reuters)
On Wednesday, the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan made a terrible blunder, as far as being a tyrannical fake democracy is concerned, enough to gain finger-wagging from Zimbabwe, Iran, and Venezuela. The country's Central Election Commission released the results of Thursday's presidential election on the organization's smartphone app, with incumbent Ilham Aliyev winning in a landslide with 72.76% of the vote. Note the mistake: Thursday's election results were released Wednesday.
While the Azerbaijani government covered up their mistake, and gave a result showing a larger landslide result with 84.6% of the vote in Aliyev's favor, that move was still a sloppy mistake on their part. Therefore, we here at Carbonated.TV are obligated to tell them five ways you can rig an election in their favor.
1. Voter Intimidation
Ah, scaring the voters into voting for you and not the other guy. There is no greater feeling of demonstrating absolute power. Granted, many of your soldiers are stationed on the Armenian border and around separatist enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, but we're sure you can spare a few regiments to coerce your voters into voting for you. That's what Robert Mugabe, the Zen master of electoral fraud, did earlier this year in Zimbabwe, particularly outside the cities.
2. Intimidating and Humiliating Candidates
Still, getting the voters to vote for you may require something less than tough love, especially when everyone else in the world is looking at you. So, you could just make your opposition as weak as possible by intimidating them, preventing them from campaigning on even terms, and even trashing their character. Overly macho Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro did that to his opponent Henrique Capriles in this year's election to replace the deceased Hugo Chavez, calling him a "little princess."
3. Ballot Stuffing
The opponent may be clever though, and still get his message across. So, it may just be time to get a few soldiers to earn some extra money by creating multiple votes from one person, also known as ballot stuffing. If the voter rolls are inaccurate, who cares? Nobody will notice that, right?
4. Manipulating the Voter Numbers
Of course, ballot stuffing requires a physical presence, and that may be hard to do if people, like international election monitors, are watching. So, you leave the ballot stuffing to the vote counters at the central or district offices, who can manipulate the numbers to present a result so plausible, that it almost looks legitimate and may even fool Nate Silver. That's what your southern neighbor Iran did in 2009. Why didn't you take notes, Azerbaijan?
5. Win On A Technicality (And A Bunch Of Invalid Votes)
When all else fails, you can always resort to the courts to save your butt, whom you surely have filled with people that will likely agree with your stance on things. If there is a controversial voting situation in an area, especially one where it is too close to call and the ballots are really wonky, you can just wait for the courts to declare any recounts invalid and let your victory stand. Why does that sound so familiar...? Oh yeah, we did that. So take it from us, for we know what we're doing when it comes to electoral fraud.
You may also use a voting machine that attacks voters supporting the opposition, as seen in the demonstration video below. But we'd advise against that, it gets messy pretty quickly.