The chapter presents a theoretical argument on when elections stabilize authoritarian rule. It argues that state capacity (both administrative and coercive) and control over the economy enable eight different manipulative strategies. These strategies allow dictators to control elections by affecting individual citizens’ and politicians’ decisions on whether to support or oppose the ruling front. The greater the administrative capacity or economic control autocrats have at their disposal, the more likely are elections to be regime stabilizing. Coercive capacity may ensure short-term survival. Incumbents who do not control the administrative or coercive apparatus or the economy are more likely to succumb in the face of multi-party elections.