Social Media and Crowdsourced Election Monitoring
Prospects for Election Transparency in Sub-Saharan Africa
With the rise of social media in Sub-Saharan Africa, citizen-led organizations in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana have embraced crowdsourcing for domestic election monitoring, at a time when holding competitive elections has proven insufficient to ensure democratic elections. Yet, while existing literature focuses on the contrast between crowdsourcing and traditional monitoring, the effects of crowdsourced election monitoring on the transparency and quality of elections remain unaddressed. This paper makes a comparative analysis of elections in Nigeria from 2003-2015, framed within Sub-Saharan Africa, supported by a dataset of election monitoring deployments. Findings show that, in Nigerian elections where crowdsourcing was used, higher levels of election transparency were registered based on the introduction of the concept of participatory democracy and its practical application. This would, then, contribute to more peaceful and democratic elections. This research also sheds some light on the benefits of domestic election monitoring for citizen engagement.