Most people understand that it’s bad to overturn an election. After all, it means that the people had their voices override and their choice for leadership undermined. But, there are even higher stakes when it comes to your own side losing an election and then attempting to overturn it.
First of all, overturning an election in which your side has lost can undermine the legitimacy of the entire process. People may begin to think that it’s possible for a ruling party or powerful interests to override the will of the people whenever they feel it is in their interest. This can lead to distrust of the electoral system and the government, and citizens may no longer believe that their votes are actually counting.
Decisions made by officials who were not chosen by the people directly can also have long-term consequences that can be damaging for a country. Oftentimes, governing moves are made that serve special interests instead of the interests of the people by officials who were not voted in. This can lead to frustration and further alienation of citizens, who are then more likely to become politically inactive and disillusioned.
Moreover, a ruling party that attempts to overturn an election that it has lost can risk derailing its own long-term prospects. This may be especially true if the ruling party was elected or had power through dubious or border-line legal means in the first place. Without the support of the citizens, the ruling party can quickly become vulnerable to its opposition and to external forces. This can lead to a lack of stability and increased difficulty for the government to pass legislation or to conduct its business effectively.
In a democracy, a free and fair election is the most important mechanism for expressing the wishes of the people and for instigating change. Oftentimes, a nation’s destiny and the state of its civil society are determined by who holds power and what is done with it. Overturning an election that your side has lost is therefore a particularly dangerous maneuver that can have far-reaching implications not only for the present but for the future too. It is much more beneficial to recognize the will of the people and to strive to win the next election instead.