Elections

 "Respect My Vote" rally at the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre. Photo Credit: Adaptor- Plug Flickr

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Elections

Elections are the cornerstone of democratic governance and political stability. Through elections, governments obtain their democratic mandate and are held accountable for their performance in office. Since our founding in 1995, International IDEA has helped election management bodies (EMBs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and other state and non-state actors to support and restore the integrity of electoral processes and institutions. Our Electoral Processes Programme has three key components to support the integrity of electoral processes and institutions.

1. Ensure legal and institutional frameworks are fit-for-purpose.

The integrity of electoral processes and institutions is best secured through the careful design of electoral legislation and institutions that entrench resilience to negative political interferences, fraud, mismanagement, violence and acts of impunity. This is particularly true in young and hybrid democracies and countries transitioning from authoritarian regimes to democratic government. We support EMBs, lawmakers and other state and non-state actors to advocate for, design and establish quality, fair and effective election-related legal and institutional frameworks.

2. Build the capacity of electoral authorities to deliver.

A lack of capacity within EMBs to undertake elections can undermine the integrity of electoral processes and institutions and can lead to political instability or violence. Capacity challenges occur in both nascent and mature democracies and include a lack of knowledge and skills, poor management practices, technical and logistical challenges, or funding shortages. We help EMBs and state actors to build their knowledge, skills and tools to protect electoral integrity. We also work with CSOs and other actors to monitor and advocate for credible electoral processes.

3. Support informed engagement in electoral processes by electoral stakeholders.

The key function of elections is to ensure the legitimacy of those who hold public office, or conversely, allow voters to dispose of unwanted rulers. For this to happen, elections need to be inclusive and participatory. Disfranchisement and low participation undermine the legitimacy of election results, regardless of electoral context.

To support inclusive electoral participation, we help maintain essential electoral rights and related civil and political rights, ensuring there are legal mechanisms to restore these rights when there are disputes or violations. Further, we research how different administrative procedures and the media affect voter turnout, as well as how information and communication technology (ICT) can remove barriers to participation, such as for out-of-country voters and innovative direct democracy. We also provide knowledge resources and expert advice on voting for economic and refugee diasporas and internally displaced persons (IDP). We support EMBs, CSOs and security sector agencies to respond to the use of psychological and physical violence to deter participation of marginalized groups. In particular, we work with experts on gender-based discrimination and violence to improve women participation.

 

Voter Turnout Trends

 

Voter Turnout Trends

 

Topic Areas  

 

Elections and Information and Communications Technologies

In the area of technology, we produce guidance and good practices for the introduction and maintenance of new technologies to ensure that they enhance transparency and credibility of the electoral process. Knowledge products include Introducing Electronic Voting, Introducing Biometric Technology in Elections, and Open data in electoral administration.

Elections and the Media

Targeted knowledge products include a Policy Paper on Media Assistance and Elections and Social Media: A Practical Guide for Electoral Management Bodies.

Elections and Conflict  

Knowledge products include Timing and Sequencing of Transitional Elections (policy paper) and  Stories of Democracy. 

Information Environment around Elections 

Our knowledge and resource hub seeks to guide evidence-based policy-making and context-suitable interventions to protect elections in the information space.

Risk Management in Elections

Knowledge products and tools include Risk Management in Elections (policy paper), Risk Management in Elections: A Guide for Election Management Bodies, and the Electoral Risk Management Tool (ERM Tool).

Natural Hazards and Elections 

For analysis, publications, and audio content on natural disasters and elections, please visit the Impact of Natural Hazards on Elections multimedia report. 

Covid-19 and Elections 

For analysis, publications, and audio-video content on elections and Covid-19, please visit our Global Overview of COVID-19: Impact on Elections multimedia report. 

Training, Education, and Research in Electoral Administration

For analysis and publications, and audio content, please visit our Training, Education, and Research in Electoral Administration multimedia report. 

Financing of Elections

For analysis and video content, please visit our practitioner perspectives on the financing of elections multimedia report. 

 

JOINT PROJECTS 

 

ACE Electoral Knowledge Network 

The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network is the world’s largest online source of electoral knowledge. To learn more please visit aceproject.org.

Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) 

BRIDGE is a modular professional development programme with a particular focus on electoral processes. To learn more please visit http://www.bridge-project.org/en/.

Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA)  

The Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA) is an online master programme providing advanced learning on electoral processes for current and aspiring election professionals. To learn more please visit: https://www.santannapisa.it/en/node/38559 

 

DATABASES

 

 

Tools

 

For more tools visit our Data and Tool page.

 

Latest Analysis and Publications

 

Our joint projects

We are active partners in a number of joint projects that support knowledge sharing on best practices and practical tips, as well as capacity building for election practitioners and policymakers.

ACE Electoral Knowledge Network

The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network is an online knowledge repository for information and customized advice on electoral processes. Established in 1998, ACE has eight partners: The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), Elections Canada, Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International IDEA, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Electoral Assistance Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs (UNEAD) and The Carter Center (TCC).

ACE is the world’s first online resource of its kind in the field of elections and the world’s largest online source of electoral knowledge, with more than 2 million annual visits per year. It provides more than 10,000 pages of specialized thematic information, country and regional information, comparative data, a global election calendar and an election observation portal. It also provides real time knowledge services and exchange through the ACE Practitioners’ Network, an online network of more than 1000 election professionals from around the world sharing electoral experience and knowledge. Membership is free and politically non-affiliated. To learn more please visit aceproject.org.

Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Elections (BRIDGE)

BRIDGE is a modular professional development programme with a particular focus on electoral processes. BRIDGE was established in 2001 by five organizations leading the democracy and governance field: the Australian Electoral Commission, International IDEA, the International Foundation of Electoral Systems, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division.

The five BRIDGE partners have committed to developing, implementing and maintaining the most comprehensive curriculum and workshop package available, designed to be used as a tool within a broader capacity development framework. It is the main tool for face-to-face capacity development in the field. Since 2001, thousands of BRIDGE workshops have been delivered in more than 100 countries to more than15, 000 participants. Currently, there are several modules being updated or developed for release in 2018. To learn more please visit: http://www.bridge-project.org/en/.

Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA)

MEPA was developed by International IDEA, in partnership with the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), to provide comprehensive and advanced learning about electoral processes to current and aspiring election professionals. Boasting the most reputed international experts in the field, MEPA is based on International IDEA’s 2014 Model Curriculum, drawing on International IDEA’s concept of the ‘electoral cycle’. International IDEA also financially sponsored and developed the material for seven of the 19 modules available. Please direct all inquiries to the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna via email: mepa@santannapisa.it

Databases

Tools

For more tools visit our Data and Tool page.

Latest analysis and publications 

 

What's Going On

Jan
17
2023

"From America extended in its hells", mural painted by Jorge González Camarena in 1965. Image Credit: WikiMedia

Commentary
Dec
21
2022
Pillars of Trust in Elections
Commentary
Dec
20
2022

Participants, organizers and observers of the workshop. Photo credit: GOPAC Oceania.

News Article

Tools and Databases

RELATED PUBLICATIONS

Networks & Partners

ACE Project
Arab EMBs Organization
Arab Network for Democratic Elections
Arab Network for Women in Elections
Central Commission of Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE)
Central Election Commission (CEC): Palestine
Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya
Club de Madrid
Council of Europe
Design 4 Democracy Coalition
E-Vote-ID
Electoral Integrity Project
Independent Election Commission – Jordan
Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia (ISIE)
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
Josef Korbel School of International Studies (University of Denver)
Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE)
Libyan High National Election Commission (HNEC)
Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA)
National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Office of the Registrar for Political Parties Kenya
Perludem (Association for Elections and Democracy, Indonesia)
RECEF (Le Réseau des compétences électorales francophones)
Regional Centre for the Development and Training of Civil Society (RCDCS)
Sweden Sverige
The Carter Center
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC)

Contact Us

Therese Pearce Laanela
Head of Electoral Processes
Therese Pearce Laanela is the Head of Electoral Processes at International IDEA.