Electoral Management Design Database

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About the Database

The Electoral Management Design Database focuses on the management of electoral processes by the electoral management bodies (EMBs). EMBs are the institutions and/or bodies responsible for managing elections. Many EMBs face basic design questions as they seek to work better: how should EMBs be structured to ensure that they can act independently? How do EMBs relate to the media, political parties, and donors? How can EMBs evaluate their performance and use experience to build sustainable elections?

The database and the Handbook on Electoral Management Design, helps answer these questions by providing information on exiting EMBs. Specific country or comparative data on models of electoral management or electoral management bodies can help stakeholders make informed decisions with regard to electoral management body design.

The database is for electoral administrators, electoral administration designers and other practitioners involved in building professional, sustainable and cost-effective electoral administrations, which can deliver legitimate and credible free and fair elections.

You can search the database by the region, the model of electoral management or the electoral management body. The electoral management body includes information about name of the EMB, number of members, terms of office, selected or appointed members, and whether membership is party or expert based. Based on a comparative study of the best practices in financing, structuring and evaluation of EMBs from around the world, the dataset aims to reduce the credibility gap faced by electoral institutions.


The initial data on the management of electoral processes was gathered for the Electoral Management Design: The International IDEA Handbook published by International IDEA in 2006. A group of researchers conducted desk research to review the electoral legislation of countries around the world. The national legal documents were compiled from different sources, including the official web portals of governments, regional organizations that work in the area of democracy and electoral processes, and research institutes specialized in the area of elections and politics in general. In very few cases, when legal documents on elections-related issues were not available for some countries, the researchers contacted the national electoral management body (EMB) of those countries in order to obtain the necessary data. These data were then analyzed and informed decisions were made about the type of electoral management design of each country as well as other related information provided in the handbook.

The data gathered for Electoral Management Design: The International IDEA Handbook was later transferred to the International IDEA’s online Electoral Management Design Database. Since the transfer, International IDEA has been conducting regular desk research and periodic global studies to update the database.   

We invite researchers and practitioners working in the area of elections to contribute to the update of Electoral Management Design Database. If users note that the database has missing data, or if they find data that is incorrect, missing sources or requires more explanation, they can use the online form in the “Submit feedback” section. We will review the submission as soon as possible and update the database if the data suggested is correct.


The database was created by International IDEA to store, update and analyze data from more than 10 years of research. The community is encouraged to use the information and help us to improve existing entries and keep the database up to date.
The data has been collected by International IDEA and its partners during previous and ongoing projects. We are now encouraging the community to assist in the maintenance of the data, but will approve all submissions and check accuracy and sources wherever possible.
Most pages showing data include an edit icon that will take you to an edit page. Here you can edit the current data, add new data for a different year or simply add a comment, link or an additional source.
To make sure that real people are editing data, we require a valid email address. The first time you make an edit from a computer, we send a verification email that then stores a special code in a cookie. Any other edits you make from that computer are connected to that same email address.
Each of the thematic pages has a list of example queries that cover common searches of interest. You can also choose to select all countries and all fields to view and export all the data for that theme. Currently there is no option to export all the data from the entire database at once.


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