The electro‐initiated polymerization of acrylonitrile initiated by the anodic oxidation of an aqueous acid solution (80% HOAc + 20% H2O) containing Mn(OAc)2 · 4H2O/CNCH2COOH has been investigated in the 30–40°C temperature range. The kinetics and mechanism of the process has been investigated as a function of variables and a suitable mechanism proposed. From the experimental observations the rate of polymerization is seen to be proportional to [An]1.5I0.5[Mn+2]0.5 and [CAA]0.5. The rate of polymerization gradually decreases at a higher applied current. The rate was independent of [CAA]0.5. The rate of polymerization gradually decreases at a higher applied current. The rate was independent of CAA at high concentration. The average degrees of polymerization (Pn) increases with increasing AN and decreasing [CAA], [Mn+2] and applied current, I. The initiation is due to the anodic oxidation of Mn+2–CNCH2COOH complex. Both the initiation of polymerization by the primary radical, viz., CNCḢCOOH as well as the oxidation of the primary radical at the electrode are equally significant reactions and neither can be neglected in comparison with the other. Predominant mutual termination accounts for all the observed data. Copyright © 1988 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.