As the events of 2020 and January 2021 demonstrated, the United States is not immune from election-related violence, yet efforts to reduce such violence are typically only used in the international development context rather than domestically. One strategy the U.S. advocates for in fledgling democracies is electoral codes of conduct – agreements in which politicians and parties agree to refrain from certain types of harmful speech and behavior, such as targeted harassment of marginalized groups, disinformation, and incitement to violence. In this paper, the authors analyze electoral codes of conduct around the world that restrict political speech in various contexts, offer policy recommendations for how local governments and communities in the United States might experiment with voluntary codes to reduce the risk of election-related violence, and identify opportunities for future research.

Author Bio(s)

Cathy Buerger is the Director of Research at the Dangerous Speech Project where she studies the relationship between speech and intergroup violence as well as civil society responses to dangerous and hateful speech online. She is a Research Affiliate of the University of Connecticut’s Economic and Social Rights Research Group and Managing Editor of the Journal of Human Rights. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut.

Tonei Glavinic is Director of Operations at the Dangerous Speech Project and specializes in multistakeholder efforts related to internet regulation, content moderation, and public policy. They also serve as Co-Chair of the Christchurch Call Advisory Network, an international group of civil society experts on efforts to restrict terrorist and violent extremist content online. Tonei holds a BA in Political Science from American University and an MA in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University Chicago.


elections, codes of conduct, united states, donald trump, political violence, election violence





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