When electoral risks are not understood and addressed, they can undermine the credibility of the process and the results it yields. Electoral management bodies (EMBs) encounter numerous risks across all phases of the electoral cycle. They operate in environments that are increasingly complex and volatile and where factors such as technology, demographics, insecurity, inaccurate or incomplete information and natural calamities, create increasing uncertainty.

The experiences of EMBs show that when formal risk management processes are successfully implemented, the benefits are profound. Greater risk awareness helps organizations to focus their resources on where they are most needed, thus achieving cost-effectiveness. Over the last decade it has been observed that EMBs are increasingly moving from informal to formal risk management processes.

The purpose of this Guide is to lay out a set of practical steps for EMBs on how to establish or advance their risk management framework. The Guide’s chapters reflect the breadth of key considerations in the implementation process and offer basic resources to assist in the process.


Publication date
05 July 2021
Amy Vincent, Sead Alihodzic, Stephen Gale
Number of pages
Australian Electoral Commission
978-91-7671-438-6 (PDF)
978-91-7671-437-9 (Print)






1. Establishing a risk management framework

2. Developing formal guiding documentation for risk management

3. Operationalization of risk management

4. Building a positive risk management culture and capability

5. List of resource materials


Annex A. Glossary of terms

Annex B. Risk management process

Annex C. Risk Management Capability Maturity Scale

Annex D. Australian Electoral Commission: risk matrix and escalation table

Annex E. Key risks faced by electoral management bodies

Annex F. Elections Canada: risk assessment criteria and risk register

Annex G. IEBC Kenya: risk matrix, risk register template and heat map

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Risk Management in Elections: A Guide for Electoral Management Bodies

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