Beginning with Hillary Clinton's defeat, the delegitimization of an undesirable election result has been through allegations of interference and fraud. The US study analyzes where and how many interventions to change voting outcomes have taken place over time. And by whom

This year, many countries are going to the polls for important political elections. Some of them, such as the presidential election in Russia, have already taken place. The most anticipated and uncertain are scheduled in the USA for November 5, with the presidential election and the renewal of much of Congress. All these elections are accompanied, or better yet, preceded by complaints of fraud and interference from abroad.
For several years now, there has been preventive talk of maneuvers by foreign powers to change the results. In particular, starting 2016, after Hillary Clinton’s defeat of Donald Trump, we have been looking at the polls warning American public opinion of the almost certainly bad intent of some power (Russia, China…) to interfere with the democratic choice of voters. This habit, nearly eight years later, has never found clear evidence of intervention, but has nonetheless become contagious. Even in Europe now, with the European elections coming up in June, many are wary of the risk. The finger is pointed at Moscow by default.
The concerns and distrust are actually legitimate. Especially if you look at the relatively recent past. A significant study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, documented dozens of foreign interventions undertaken to alter elections in many countries on every continent, excluding only Oceania: from Brazil to Iran, from Thailand to Sri Lanka to Guatemala… The result of this study, conducted over several years using overt and covert sources, is relatively surprising. In fact, it appears from a research conducted by Professor Dov Levin that the government, which did the most to change the natural course of elections in foreign countries, was the United States government. The numbers are impressive.
A total of 117 interventions were documented during the period under review, from 1946 through the end of 2000. Of which 81 were carried out by various agencies reporting to Washington (69 percent of the total). The remaining 31 percent (36 cases) were from the USSR/Russia. Overall, during the Cold War and the first post-Soviet decade, more than ten percent (11.3) of the 937 electoral contests held around the world were altered. There are 50 rigged elections in Europe alone. Among the most sensational and least studied cases, Levin cites the electoral round held in Italy in 1948, the first parliamentary election of the emerging Italian republic. Italy was the most important of the “Top Five Targets” of Washington strategists who intervened in eight elections. Japan has the second highest level of intervention (5), followed by Israel and Laos (4). Moscow’s activity, in the polls of other countries, is paradoxically a minority.
Nevertheless, in the West’s view, the threat comes from the East. Despite the sensational case of the 1996 Russian presidential elections, with Yeltsin’s unexpected victory over the communist candidate Zyuganov, who was universally favourite in the second round.
“The White Crow” (Yeltsin) won thanks to such apparent outside support that it led the New York Times to wonder on July 9, six days after the election, whether Washington had a hand in the outcome. The Time magazine devoted its cover, a week later, to American help in Yeltsin’s victory. Years later, researchers at the University of Arizona compiled the elements that led to the publication of a report titled “Overriding Democracy: American Intervention in Yeltsin’s 1996 Reelection Campaign.”

Senior correspondant

Alessandro Cassieri