In Safe Elections, Democracy Wins: Perceptions of Electoral Harassment among Candidates and Voters


Electoral harassment is becoming a significant concern in contemporary democracies, encompassing a variety of forms, and involving several factors and platforms. Candidates experience electoral harassment, often diminishing their willingness and ability to campaign, while voters are targeted to harassment that might undermine their trust in political institutions and overall support for democracy. Finland, known for its consensual political culture, high levels of political trust, and homogeneous electorate, provides an ideal least-likely case to examine the prevalence of electoral harassment. This chapter focuses on the observations of electoral harassment forms among candidates and voters in the 2019 Finnish parliamentary elections and the associated factors with the experience of harassment. Results reveal that candidates observed, on average, three different forms of electoral harassment (most commonly spreading disinformation, defaming campaigns, and website jamming or harassment of online accounts), whereas nearly half of the voters do not observe any forms of harassment. For both voters and candidates, young age and exposure to social media increase the tendency to observe electoral harassment, while affiliation with center-right parties has a negative association. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the challenges encountered in attempts to countervail electoral harassment.

Political behaviour in contemporary Finland : Studies of voting and campaigning in a candidate oriented political system
Veikko Isotalo
Veikko Isotalo
PhD candidate in Political Science

My research interests include VAAs, data science and electoral research.