Voting from Abroad Database

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About this database

Allowing citizens to vote while they are outside their home country has long been an issue in electoral design and management. As the number of countries holding elections has increased significantly over the last quarter of century, it has become even more salient. It is not only that many more people are travelling and working around the globe. As elections take place in countries in transition after authoritarian rule, and even more so after violent conflict, the rights of refugees and people living outside a country to participate in building its future are increasingly important and relevant.

The Voting from Abroad Database provides comparative data on external voting practices for 216 countries and territories around the globe. Such a broad coverage makes this database truly unique among similar datasets in the elections field. Interactive tools, including maps and graphs, allow users to easily compare regions and sub-regions, filter necessary data and export raw data for further analyses. Country pages provide in depth country level data in a historical format. In addition to standardised data, country pages provide further information about the specific practices of external voting.



The initial survey of external voting practices around the world was conducted for the Voting from abroad: The International IDEA Handbook published in 2007 by International IDEA. This was a joint publication produced in partnership with the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (Instituto Federal Electoral, IFE). The survey was conducted under the systematic direction of the International Department of the IFE. The data was collected by a group of researchers who conducted desk research reviewing national electoral legislation from around the world that address external voting practices. National legislation was compiled from various sources, including the official web portals of governments, regional organizations working in the area of democracy and electoral processes, and research institutes specialized in the area of elections and politics.

The data gathered for Voting from Abroad: The International IDEA Handbook was later transferred to the International IDEA’s online Voting from Abroad Database. Since the transfer, International IDEA has been conducting regular desk research to update the database. While updating the database, particular attention is given to the reforms of electoral legislation that affect external voting practices. Beginning from 2018, the data for every country in the database is updated 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 our curation of the Voting from Abroad Database. If users note that the database has missing or incorrect data, or if they find missing sources or require 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

Where does the data come from?

Data are primarily obtained from electoral legislation of countries. In some cases, when electoral laws are not available, other sources are also used, such as direct responses provided by EMB officials, election results and other materials posted in the EMB website, reports produced by election observation mission reports, as well as 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 correct.

Can I get a complete export of all the data?

In order to export all the data in the database you should follow the following steps:

  • 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 all the questions 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 questions in the database as well as to specific regions and/or countries.
Is there a codebook explaining the variables included in the database?

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

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