Building trust and professionalism in the management of electoral processes remains a major challenge for electoral management bodies (EMBs), institutions and/or bodies responsible for managing elections.

The ‘credibility gap’—the diminished public confidence in the integrity and diligence for many electoral institutions and their activities—is a common problem for EMBs around the world.

Many EMBs face basic design questions as they seek to work better: how should EMBs be structured to ensure that they can act independently? How do EMBs relate to stakeholders such as the media, political parties and donors? How can EMBs evaluate their performance and use experience to build sustainable elections?

This Handbook is written for electoral administrators, electoral administration designers and other practitioners involved in building professional, sustainable and cost-effective electoral administrations which can deliver legitimate and credible free and fair elections.

In 2014, International IDEA published a revised edition of this Handbook, featuring updated information and data. 


Publication date
27 November 2006
Alan Wall, Andrew Ellis, Ayman Ayoub, Carl W. Dundas, Joram Rukambe, Sara Staino
Number of pages
91-85391-65-4 (Print)

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Acronyms and Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Who Organizes Elections?

Chapter 2. The Legal Framework: The Context for an EMB’s Role and Powers

Chapter 3. The Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of an EMB

Chapter 4. The Composition, Roles and Functioning of an EMB

Chapter 5. Planning and Implementing EMB Activities

Chapter 6. The Development of Professional Electoral Management

Chapter 7. The Financing of EMBs

Chapter 8. Stakeholder Relationships

Chapter 9. Assessing EMB Performance

Chapter 10. The Sustainability of EMBs

Chapter 11. EMB Networks

Chapter 12. Reforming Electoral Processes

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Electoral Management Design: The International IDEA Handbook (2006)

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