Competition and struggle are an inherent part of elections. Therefore, electoral processes can be subject to many types of misconduct, such as the rejection of qualified voters and candidates, electoral fraud, obstruction of electoral processes both by election officials and voters, campaign finance infractions, to name a few. Any of these may lead to electoral disputes, and how disputes are handled is one of the important indicators of the impartiality of elections. Therefore, free, fair and credible elections necessitate the adoption of efficient and transparent electoral dispute resolution (EDR) mechanisms.
The Electoral Justice Database provides global comparative data on EDR mechanisms for 178 countries and territories across the globe. It mainly serves the needs of election practitioners who are keen to learn how EDR mechanisms are designed in other countries and how specific practices can lead to different outcomes. However, the database can also be used by academia, civil society, media and other actors who are closely involved in the issues related to credibility of electoral processes.
The Electoral Justice Database consists of the following four parts:
This part provides data on electoral dispute resolution systems designed to deal with challenges to election results. Data includes details on jurisdiction, timelines, and standing to bring such challenges.
This part is designed to provide comparative data on how disputes during nomination and/or registration of candidates are handled in various countries.
This part covers institutional oversight of campaign finance and the procedures of handling infractions related to breaches of regulations.
This part provides comparative data on how criminal offences related to election processes are treated. Users can find data on the types of offences described in the law and available sanctions.
- Binding voluntary arbitration: A process in which the disputing parties choose and agree a neutral person to hear their dispute and resolve it by making a final and binding decision or award. Arbitration is an adversarial, adjudicative process designed to resolve the specific issues submitted by the parties. Arbitration differs significantly from litigation in that (1) it does not require conformity with the legal rules of evidence and procedure, (2) there is flexibility in timing and choice of decision makers, and (3) the proceeding is conducted in private rather than in a public forum. Binding arbitration awards are usually enforceable by courts, so long as there are no defects in the arbitration procedure.
- Mandatory non-binding arbitration: This form of arbitration follows from court proceedings. Court-appointed arbitrators hear cases subject to jurisdictional limits set out in the relevant legislation and regulations. The losing party has the right to a new trial (trial de novo) in the trial court.
A criminal penalty is always imposed by a court. An administrative penalty can in some electoral justice systems be imposed by the EMB.
- The competence and geographic scope of a court or other judicial body in direction-making, decision-making and implementation powers.
- The power or authority of a court to act. The court must have jurisdiction both over the subject matter and geographic area of the complaint and over the person or body against whom relief is sought.
The principle that law should ‘rule’ in the sense that it establishes a framework within which all conduct or behaviour takes place.