The global data was collected using the desk research. Researchers coded the data based on specific regulations providing for SVAs in the electoral legislation and the regulations of electoral management bodies. Whenever possible, those legal provisions were checked against the real-life implementation of SVAs. The infographics on this page are based on data from March 2021.
All data is derived from the texts of the laws and/or regulations. In some cases, researchers had to make difficult decisions when coding certain uses of SVAs. In some countries, regulations vary by region or type of election.
Types of SVAs covered
Postal voting is defined for this dataset as those measures that allow voters to submit their ballot by physical post to the election administration. While postal voting is in principle early voting, it differs in that the vote can be physically submitted remotely by the voters themselves.
Early voting is defined for this dataset as in-person opportunities for submitting one’s vote at a polling station before election day. Other early methods that are not in-person (such as postal or e-voting) or that do not take place in a polling station (such as mobile ballot box voting) are not included in this category.
Mobile ballot box voting is defined for this dataset as the case when members of the election administration visit a voter either at home or at an institution with a mobile ballot box to facilitate their vote away from their assigned polling station.
Proxy voting is defined for this dataset as cases in which an authorized individual casts or transmits a ballot on behalf of the voter. While proxy voting is generally restricted to special circumstances, some countries allow it for any reason. In most cases, voters must request to vote by proxy in advance and a procedure must be defined for the voters and their proxy to identify themselves.
The four SVAs presented here are globally the most common ones for in-country voters. Other, less common SVAs include online voting covered in International IDEA’s ICTs in Elections Database. Online voting is currently available in 12 countries and in most cases limited to voting from abroad.
Special arrangements for out of country voters, including postal voting, proxy voting, in-person embassy voting and online voting from abroad are covered in International IDEA’s Voting from Abroad Database.
The global data has been collected in collaboration with the leading regional organizations and experts working with elections. These include NAMFREL (Asia and the Pacific), EISA (Africa), SODE (Middle East), and an individual consultant working on the Americas. Data for European continent have been collected by several researchers of International IDEA.
Help us improve our data! Please use the contact form here to provide feedback and corrections, as far as possible, providing supporting sources.
More in-depth information about other SVAs, the latest available updates and data download is available from the In-country postal voting, Early voting, Mobile ballot box, and Proxy voting country data pages.