What we did: To support countries to make informed decisions on the preparation for elections, we made available a series of knowledge products to support electoral practitioners as they navigate complex decisions, Covid-19 health risks and adverse conditions for holding elections.
What we achieved: National authorities, such as the Election Commission of South Africa, the Center for Continuous Electoral Training in Moldova and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, have used the material to develop guiding documents for their constituencies. Our analysis on Covid-19 and elections has also been cited by more than 130 national and international news outlets and inspired United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to request International IDEA to support election management bodies in Timor-Leste.
Impact area: Democratic Assessments
Results statement: Through publications and communication products on how to conduct elections during the Covid-19 pandemic, International IDEA supports electoral practitioners to conduct elections informed by norms, good practices and research in electoral processes.
Boundary partner: Electoral management bodies and electoral assistance practitioners
Rather than postponing elections due to Covid-19, 2021 saw ‘expedited learning, experimentation, dialogue and reform’ that allowed most countries to hold national and subnational elections.
To support countries to make informed decisions on the preparation for elections, International IDEA made available a series of resources to support electoral practitioners as they navigate complex decisions, Covid-19 health risks and adverse conditions for holding elections. This included: a multimedia report, which has attracted more than 150,000 visits from 168 countries; state-of-the-art articles and reports on, for example, campaign limitations, disinformation, special voting arrangements, voter turnout and election observation, as well as 20 International IDEA and Electoral Integrity Project case studies on how countries such as Brazil, Canada, Ghana, India, Israel and Portugal have held elections under Covid-19 conditions.
National authorities such as the Election Commission of South Africa and the Center for Continuous Electoral Training in Moldova, as well as regional and global organizations such as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, have used the International IDEA research material to develop guiding documents for their constituencies. International IDEA’s analysis on elections and Covid-19 has also been cited by more than 130 national and international news outlets, including The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, The New York Times and Reuters.
Moreover, staff from International IDEA have been able to contribute to numerous online events on the topic organized by boundary partners based in, for example, Botswana, India, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal and Thailand.
In 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) requested that International IDEA (Asia-Pacific Programme) support election management bodies in Timor-Leste ahead of a series of elections at the national and municipal level in 2022 to 2024. The UNDP request was based on the information and knowledge that International IDEA has published on the topic.
‘We find it important that IDEA et al provide insights on elections during pandemic. Thank you for that.’
—Heini Huotarinen, Ministerial Advisor, Department for Democracy and Public Law, Ministry of Justice of Finland
‘And I have to say, that the amount of papers, case studies and events on the theme of covid produced by IDEA is fantastic! What we have found so far, with your kind help, will be enough for now.’
—Kristina Lemon, Investigation Secretary (Utredningssekreterare), Sweden
‘According to International IDEA, an authoritative voice on global elections, at least 80 countries and territories held national or subnational elections between 21 February and 1 November. Elections were postponed in 73 countries or territories in the same period, but in at least 39 of these cases postponed elections have now been held.’
—Sir John Holmes (Chair of UK Election Commission), Learning from the impact of Covid-19 on international elections, 6 November 2020
‘The international institutions of excellence such as A-WEB, IFES and International IDEA etc have played a pioneering role in closely monitoring the electoral calendar, the electoral processes and much more.’
—Election Commission of India and India A-WEB Center, Electoral International experiences of conducting elections in 2020 during Covid-19 (2020, p. 163)
Photo: National Election Commission of South Korea