Electoral Rights and Democratic Erosion in Latin America

Systems of electoral justice have been understood as crucial means to securing the preservation of fragile democracies. To a great extent this is true. Having independent judicial bodies deciding on the legality of elections has allowed for the pacific transition of power in Latin America. Paradoxically, at the same time, the development of constitutional doctrines of electoral rights as human rights has the potential to contribute to the erosion of democracy in different ways. This paper studies different cases across the Latin America to shed light on the risks of treating electoral rights as human rights. It focuses on Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua, where high courts have rendered decisions understanding electoral rights as human rights, while securing measures like the elimination of constitutional presidential term limits–what some have considered undemocratic outcomes.