Electoral Management Design Database

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About this 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.

Background information


The initial data on the management of electoral processes was compiled for the Electoral Management Design: The International IDEA Handbook published in 2006 by International IDEA. A group of researchers conducted desk research to review the electoral legislation of countries around the world. To accomplish this, 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 information. The collected data was then reviewed and on the basis of this analysis, 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 this data allocation, International IDEA has been conducting regular research to maintain the database. While updating the database, particular attention is given to the reforms of electoral legislation that affect the functioning of EMBs. Beginning from 2018, the data for every country in the database is revised following the cycle of parliamentary (lower house) as well as presidential elections.

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 accurate.

Frequently asked questions

Who created the database?

The database was created by International IDEA using global survey of EMBs, by contracting regional/local consultants and also using desk research conducted by in house researchers. The community is encouraged to use the database and help us curate the database by suggesting improvements and updates to existing entries.

Where does the data come from?

Data comes from different sources, such as direct responses provided by EMB officials who filled out the survey questionnaire, electoral legislation, materials posted in the EMB website, reports produced by election observation mission reports, along with other reputable materials available online.

What should I do if I find missing or incorrect data?

If you note that the database has missing or incorrect data, or if you find missing sources or a need for more explanation, you 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 information submitted is accurate.

Can I get a complete export of all the data?

The database contains one core question, which is about the model of electoral management adopted by country, and six supplementary questions providing more detailed data for each EMB. All the data in the database can be exported only for the core question. Data for the supplementary questions cannot be downloaded. Since some countries have more than one EMB and supplementary questions are repeated for each EMB, the current template used for the database cannot handle the export of the supplementary questions.

All the data for the question “Model of electoral management” can be downloaded using two methods:

Option 1: In the “Search the database” section please click on the “Region/political entity” menu and select “World” option. Then click on the “Search” button. This will produce all the data for the question “Model of electoral management” in a table format. Data from this table can be exported into excel file by clicking on the “Export” button available at the top of the table.

Option 2: Click on the “Advanced Search” hyperlink provided below the “Search the database” section. You will be directed to a specific search interface where you can select the question “Model of electoral management” and countries to produce online table presenting all the data. Data from this table can be exported into excel file by clicking on the “Export” button available at the top of the table. In this search interface you can also limit your search to specific regions and/or countries.

Is there a codebook explaining the variables included in the database?

The codebook for the EMD Database is under development. When available, a link will be posted at the bottom of this page.

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