Pandemics and other health crises are predicted to become more common in the future. This is likely to pose a variety of threats to electoral integrity. This article argues that, by learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, the negative impacts on elections of viral outbreaks and other emergencies can be mitigated in the future. It will begin by reviewing academic and grey literature on COVID-19 and elections, before presenting research findings from case study elections in Tanzania, Ghana, the Central African Republic, and Kenya. The article will highlight specific challenges facing low- and middle-income countries and argue that the protocols that were introduced in these case study countries ultimately failed to adequately ensure the safety of voters and election administrators by not addressing issues of compliance and enforcement. It will then present: 1) recommendations designed to be implemented in advance of future health crises, and 2) measures that should be taken once such emergencies are underway.


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Cite as

Macdonald, R. & Molony, T. 2023, 'Future pandemics and elections: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in the Central African Republic, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania', Journal of African Elections, 22(2), pp. 46-67. https://doi.org/10.20940/JAE/2023/v22i2a3

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Last updated: 12 December 2023
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