Elections are the cornerstone of representative democracy. Through elections, governments obtain their democratic mandate and are held accountable for their performance in office.
Flawed elections deprive people of their voice in governance and undermine sustainable democratic development. Support for electoral processes has been at the heart of our work since our founding in 1995.
Priorities of engagement
International IDEA’s knowledge resources on electoral processes have distinguished themselves in breadth and scope from those of other organizations and that they have responded to the needs of stakeholders.
Elections and conflict
We continue to share the Electoral Risk Management Tool (ERM Tool) as a global public good and work with our Member States and global, regional and national partners in supporting the Tool's application in priority countries. Building on the ERM Tool we use its knowledge and lessons from its implementation to inform country-level support for electoral conflict prevention and mitigation, including training on the safety of elections with UNDP Asia and the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP).
Elections and the media
International IDEA enhances its knowledge base on the role of media at all stages of the electoral cycle. Special attention is given to the effects of social media on youth participation in electoral processes, the changing nature of election campaigning, and the role of new media in direct democracy initiatives. Targeted knowledge products including a Policy Paper on Media Assistance and Elections and Social Media: A Practical Guide for Electoral Management Bodies aim to link relevant media issues with International IDEA’s established areas of expertise and develop new partnerships.
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. A new database mapping the global use of technology in elections has been developed to enhance the Institute’s knowledge base in this area. Building on the success of the Policy Paper on Introducing Electronic Voting, specific themes will be selected for a series of short publications on guidance for sustainable use of electoral technology throughout the electoral cycle; debates between open and proprietary software solutions; and the perceived and real comparative advantages of various electoral information and communications technologies.
There are several areas of non-engagement for our organization. These include electoral audits, large scale training and capacity-building projects, election observation and electoral procurement.