In India, 9% of legislators face criminal charges. Could voter information and coordination improve the country’s political representation?
In the context of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, a voter information experiment was conducted across more than 3,800 villages in which 450,000 mobile phone subscribers in treatment villages received voice and text messages informing them about the criminal charges of candidates in their constituency. The information was credibly sourced and fairly distributed among candidates. Votes for candidates with severe charges dropped by 8% and votes for candidates with no charges increased by 7%. Government should ensure online access to information on the criminal charges of candidates in elections.
Editors' note: This VoxDev Talk is part of our series on the Indian elections.