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Training, Education and Research in Electoral Administration: Investing in excellence

PUBLISHED:
03/06/2021
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Image credit: International IDEA

Image credit: International IDEA  

Training is the process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity. For election officials, training organized by electoral management bodies (EMBs) can be geared towards election procedures before, during or after elections; or be part of staff's lifelong learning to maintain and improve the professional competence of staff. Beyond their staff, several EMBs also train or educate other stakeholders such as political parties and candidates, members of the press, judges, security sector officials and the general public.  

Many EMBs engage in training on a regular and frequent basis. Some EMBs such as Australia, Sweden and the UK have adopted compulsory training for poll workers. The Central Election Commission of Georgia has gone a step further and introduced certification requirements for election administrative officials who have been politically appointed.  

To accommodate these and other training requirements related to the staff and other stakeholders, EMBs are increasingly investing in high-quality training and educational programmes run by professional educators who use innovative hands-on practice, activity and scenario-based learning methodologies. Moreover, a large number of EMBs have established fit-for-purpose training and education facilities. Examples include the Australian Election Commission (AEC) learning facility that includes classrooms and simulation rooms, and the Election Commission of India’s, Indian International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Management (IIIDEM), with its 12,500 sqm facility dedicated to training election officials from around the country and from abroad.  

During the last 30 years, at least 38 EMBs have established dedicated electoral training and education centres (see Table 1). These centres are either incorporated within the existing EMB structure or as a separate wing with functional or administrative autonomy.  

 

Table 1. Electoral Training, Education and Research Centres by country and year established  
Country 
Year established  
Name  
Argentina 
2009 
School for Training and Electoral Education, National Electoral Chamber  
Australia  
2009 
National Electoral Education Centre, Australian Election Commission*  
Australia  
1992 
Electoral Education Centre, Western Australian Election Commission* 
Bangladesh 
1995 
Electoral Training Institute, Election Commission of Bangladesh 
Bolivia 
2018 
Institute for Intercultural Democracy, Supreme Electoral Tribunal  
Bosnia and Hercegovina  
2017 
Education Center for Elections, Central Election Commission 
Brazil 
2002 
Electoral Judicial School, Superior Electoral Court  
Colombia 
2007 
Center for Studies in Democracy and Electoral Affairs, National Registry  
Costa Rica 
2009 
Institute for Training and Studies in Democracy, Supreme Tribunal of Elections 
Dominican Republic  
2007 
National School of Electoral and Civil State Training, Central Election Board  
Ecuador 
2012 
Institute of Democracy, National Electoral Council  
Fiji 
2015 
Fijian Electoral Education Centre, Fijian Electoral Office 
Georgia 
2009 
Electoral Systems Development Reform and Training Centre, Central Election Commission  
Ghana 
2016 
Training School, Electoral Commission of Ghana 
Guatemala 
2011 
Electoral Institute, Supreme Electoral Tribunal  
Hong Kong  
1999 
Electoral Information Centre, Registration and Electoral Office* 
India 
2011 
International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, Election Commission of India 
India 
2018 
Institute of Democracy & Elections for Good Governance, State Election Commission Maharastra 
Iraq 
2017 
Institute of Electoral Education, Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq  
Jordan 
2017 
Jordan Electoral Training and Research Institute, Independent Electoral Commission of Jordan 
Kyrgyzstan  
2013 
Center for Training and Electoral Technologies, Central Election Commission  
Malaysia 
2007 
Election Academy, Election Commission of Malaysia 
Mexico 
1995 
School for Electoral Judicial Training, Electoral Tribunal 
Mexico 
2010 
International Centre for Election Training and Research, National Electoral Institute 
Moldova 
2013 
The Center for Continuous Electoral Training, Central Election Commission  
Nepal 
2011 
Electoral Education and Training Centre, Election Commission of Nepal  
Nigeria 
2005 
The Electoral Institute, Independent National Electoral Commission  
Pakistan 
2019 
Federal Election Academy, Electoral Commission of Pakistan 
Panama  
2014 
Institute for Democratic Studies, Electoral Court  
Paraguay 
1997 
Center for Information, Documentation and Electoral Education, Supreme Electoral Tribunal 
Peru 
2005 
Electoral and Governance School, National Jury of Elections  
Peru  
2002 
Registration School, National Registry of Identification and Civil Status  
Russia  
1994 
Electoral Technologies Training Centre, Central Election Commission  
South Korea 
1996 
Korean Centre for Civic Education and Democracy, National Electoral Commission 
Thailand 
2006 
Democratic Education Center, Election Commission of Thailand* 
Ukraine 
2007 
Joint IFES-CEC Administrative Center for Training of Election Process Participants  
Venezuela 
2011 
Institute of High Studies of the Electoral Power, National Electoral Council 
Zambia 
2012 
Voter Education Information and Research Centre, Electoral Commission of Zambia 
Source: Author, constructed using information from EMB websites, social media and reports.  Note: centres marked with asterisk focus on electoral and civic education only. 
 

Many of these centres (as well as EMB departments or units) go beyond training and professional development, with voter and civic education and/or research functions as well (see multimedia report).  

Many practitioners agree that training, education and research are investments for ensuring successful elections (see New Delhi Statement). Training promotes professionalism within the EMB and trust among the voters. Voter and civic education support a vision of elections as a public good and societal endeavour. Research and analysis contribute to both innovation and adaptation and support institutional resilience. 

How and why some EMBs decide to establish a centre or instead strengthen existing structures will depend on the country and electoral context. To explore available options, International IDEA has published a series of diverse country case studies that aim to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics related to opening and operating an electoral training and education facility in different environments. Each case study takes a similar approach by focusing on the facility's beginnings, first years of operations as well as the years of development and expansion. The case studies are aimed at policymakers and practitioners involved in EMB design with a focus on operational training, professional development, voter and civic education, and research:  

Case Study 1 - Electoral Training and Education: The Case of IIIDEM in India (27 May 2021)  

Case Study 2 - Electoral Training and Education: The Case of the Electoral Institute in Nigeria (27 May 2021)    

Case Study 3 - Electoral Training and Education: The Case of the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training in Moldova (27 May 2021)   

Cast Study 4 - Electoral Training and Education: The Case of the Information and Electoral Education Unit, ONPE Peru (27 May 2021)  

Cast Study 5 and 6 - Electoral Training and Education: The Case of the National Training and Education Unit and the National Electoral Education Centre, Australian Election Commission (forthcoming).  

SOBRE EL AUTOR

Programme Officer
Erik Asplund

Erik Asplund is a Programme Officer in the Electoral Processes Programme, International IDEA. He is currently the lead editor of the Global Overview of COVID-19: Impact on Elections report and co-editor of the Elections and Covid-19 project.  Other focus areas include Training, Education and Research in Electoral AdministrationElectoral Risk Management and Financing of Elections.