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  1. A Ready Reckoner - Brief Profiles of Countries, Election Management Bodies and Partner Organisations of A-WEB

    The ‘Ready Reckoner’ carries ‘Brief Profiles of Countries, EMB’s and Partner Organizations of A-WEB’ is a ‘One Stop’ repository of valuable information on 115 EMB’s from 106 Member countries, and sixteen Partner Organizations. The Document is intended to strengthen both, the vertical and horizontal interaction among the A-WEB Community and support a quantum jump in Knowledge sharing among the Democracies in the world. It will be our earnest endeavor to keep the document updated on continued basis.
    A gift to the A WEB Community, the ‘Ready Reckoner’ is one of its first initiatives.  It has been conceptualized and developed in house through intensive research work followed by comprehensive interaction with the A WEB Community on the Draft Document for updating the databases in profiles.
     
    View E-Book
    Member EMBs and Partner Organizations are requested to intimate changes, if any, in the contents of their respectives pages of the Ready Reckoner to "eci.intl.coop@gmail.com" by 31st January 2021, to enable us to update the profiles.

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  2. A report on the international webinar on the topic "‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences"

    Webinar on ‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences’
     
    On completion of one year of Chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted an International Webinar on the Theme ‘‘Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting  Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country Experiences’ through its India A-WEB Centre on 21st September, 2020 at New Delhi. It was an occasion for democracies world over to come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid19. It may be recalled that India had taken over as Chair of A-WEB for 2019-2021 term during the 4th General Assembly of A-WEB held at Bengaluru on 03 Sep 2019.
    On this occasion, India A-WEB Centre’s  publications  namely ‘A Ready Reckoner: Brief Profiles of Countries, Election Management Bodies and Partner Organizations of A-WEB’ and ‘International Experiences of Conducting Elections During COVID-19’  were released besides release of the ‘Brochure’ for  launch  of ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’.
    Mr. Umesh Sinha, Secretary General, ECI welcomed the guests and gave a brief overview of the activities of A-WEB India Centre since its inception. 

    Inaugurating the Webinar,  Chief Election Commissioner of India and Chairperson, A-WEB Mr Sunil Arora spoke of the "tough predicament" faced by Election Management Bodies across the world - whether and how to hold scheduled elections in a state of public health emergency.
    He said the contextual framework of every country was different, the extent and trajectory of the disease varied and so did the capacity of each country to respond to the novel corona virus and its catastrophic impact. He mentioned countries such as South Korea, Australia, Malawi, Taiwan, Mongolia and many others who went ahead with scheduled elections even as they put in place the enormous arrangements required to ensure the health and safety of people while conducting elections. 
    Mr  Arora mentioned that Elections in India pose formidable challenges on account of large electorate, geographical and linguistic diversity and differing climatic conditions. Explaining in detail the scale of the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Bihar, he mentioned that the total number of electors was 72.9 million. 
    Explaining the impact of Covid-19 on the election, Mr Arora highlighted how Covid-19 exigencies and social distancing measures necessitated a revisit of ECI's extant instructions. The maximum number of electors at a polling station was reduced from 1500 to 1000, and consequently, the number of polling stations jumped by 40 per cent, from 65,000 to over  100,000. These changes had huge logistics and manpower implications. 
    Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) also mentioned that ECI has placed a lot of emphasis on extending facilitation to senior citizens, women, Persons with disabilities and in current circumstances, ensuring franchise to COVID-19 positive voters and those in quarantine. In this context, the CEC mentioned how, beginning with the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand in November-December 2019, and elections to the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in February 2020, the postal ballot facility was extended to voters who were aged more than 80 years, persons with disabilities and those   engaged in specified essential services. This facility of postal ballot was also extended to COVID-19 positive electors who were in quarantine/hospitalized. 

     
    Mr Arora mentioned the specific and detailed guidelines that have been drawn up for conducting election during the time of COVID-19. He also mentioned the successful conduct of elections to 18 seats of the Rajya Sabha in the month of June, 2020. He informed that assembly elections are due in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu in the first half of the year 2021.
    Mentioning the two publications   released during the Webinar viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’ and ‘International Experiences of Conducting Elections during COVID-19’, he said these would be a useful tool for researchers and practitioners alike. He said that A-WEB India Centre has also progressed considerably towards publishing a world class journal called “A-WEB India  Journal of Elections’. The first issue of this journal will be released in March 2021. He hoped that A-WEB India emerges as the ‘nervecentre’ for intellectual and other activities and, requested all other members to contribute and participate.

     
    Session I
    The Session started with opening remarks by Mr K M Nurul Huda, CEC, Bangladesh who focussed on ‘fightback’ by the EMBs with whatever resources available. He said that this Webinar was an effort of imparting success story on courage and determinations of EMBs who had not compromised elections with the threat of COVID-19  pandemic.  It would also provide an opportunity to know which EMBs have taken what precautions and under what circumstances.  It would benefit all EMBs under the banner of A-Web and to share as how others have encountered corona while undertaking health protective measures and then managed elections.  
    Mr Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioner, India shared with the audience the special measures taken by ECI to ensure conduct of elections under COVID- 19 challenge; he emphasized on the need for coordination with all stakeholders including political parties; effective communication with voters to convince & to ensure that the”Polling Booths are safe”; & the need for comprehensive new protocols designed to synchronize with Health Guidelines.
    Ms A Senimoli, Director Operations, Fiji Elections Office, spoke on advance planning for General Elections 2022 with COVID Safety protocols.  The strategies include to promote alternative ways of voting to reduce person to person contact; having bigger & larger venues for better ventilation and allow for physical distancing; changes to SOPs and set up in polling stations (1.5m physical distancing); instructional posters on safety and hygiene protocols to be affixed outside polling stations and special voting procedures for assisted voting (voters with disabilities).
    Mr Seung Ryeol Kim Advisor, A-WEB Secretariat, spoke about the  initiatives taken by A-WEB Sectt.  to facilitate sharing of experiences and expertise in the form of webinars to support A-WEB members in tackling the challenges from the pandemic.   These webinars dealt with urgent issues and key considerations with regard to election management in the pandemic situation.  In addition to the three webinars, the A-WEB Secretariat has also participated in a number of webinars organised by its members or partners, sharing its insights into election management and COVID-19 as well as encouraging its members to join and benefit from the events.
    Mr Antonio Spinelli Senior Advisor, International IDEA spoke on special voting arrangements and managing elections during the pandemic. He mentioned  the  “theoretical, analytical“ framework by which all EMBs  could “situate our individual effort in comparison to worldwide practices.”  He  categorized  the ongoing efforts of EMBs into 3 parallel dimensions for the  COVID-19 threat i.e. Physical, Spatial and Temporal. He stated that the Voting methodology has been static and, it generally, is not accounting for mobility of people & absentee voters – whose worldwide number was overwhelming. The paper circulated was “evaluative” of ongoing efforts by various EMB’s and it presented the members with a “Global Monitor”- to judge impact of COVID Democracy & Human Rights and an excellent snapshot of facts of conducted/ postponed elections & degree of variation in approaches initiated by various EMB’s. The Paper’s core point perhaps was that Emergency such as the global crisis stemming from the COVID- 19 pandemic, are decisive facts that may reveal the health of any democracy.
    Ms Kin Su-yeon, Professor, KCEID, National Election Commission (NEC) of Republic of Korea spoke on the  Election Management in response to COVID-19 and the 21st National Assembly Elections held in April 2020 in the Republic of Korea.  She shared the experience of the  National Election Commission of the ROK that  enabled it to hold elections without changing the laws. It made  full use of its existing systems such as the early voting system to minimise congestion in polling stations on the voting day as well as the fixed voting hours giving the quarantined voters the last minutes to vote.  She mentioned that NEC provided an environment where voters felt safe while coming to vote during the elections.  
    Dr Chih-Cheng Meng, Commissioner, CEC Taiwan spoke of  Taiwan’s successful experiences in conducting elections during COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan has had more than 40 local by-elections and recalls since February 2020. Through the formulation and implementation of the prevention measures, the election authorities have worked closely with the central and local governments to establish a safe and comprehensive epidemic prevention network. Election officials are highly alert and strictly implement epidemic prevention measures to provide a safe voting environment for every voter.
    Mr P Delgernaran, Chairperson, GEC Mongolia spoke on conduct of Parliamentary Elections in Mongolia with well defined safety protocols and sharing of  experiences  by each of the speakers The presentation walked all the participants  through the Mongolian experience of conduct of the Parliamentary election in June, 2020 within the mandate of the “Regulation” on Corona of May 2020. It acknowledged its prior study of global experiences including Korea.  Due to the measures taken, it ensured a 73.6% voter turnout with no adverse health impact being reflected.  
    Mr. Sushil Chandra, EC India summarized various presentations as adding the new dimensions of “safe” to the otherwise known formulation of ‘Free & Fair Elections’. He noted that the sessions were well structured and the presentations provided  an  analysis of factors, threats, challenges and  the possible solutions for conduct of elections. Mr  Nurul Huda, CEC, Bangladesh  mentioned that  Corona virus has brought about rigorous changes in  our daily life, conduct of elections  as well as the future strategy for elections. 

    Session II 

    In his opening remarks Mr.  Rajiv Kumar, EC India  quoting Mahatma Gandhi,  characterized the challenge as to ensure that the under-privileged have the same opportunity as the elite. He suggested an additional test to  “focus on polling percentage  in respect of the vulnerable sections”. Containment measures by governments  have and are having “constitutional and technology implications for timing and  conduct of elections.” He briefed the Conference  on the Rajya Sabha  elections conducted by ECI in June 2020.  Mentioning the forthcoming elections of Bihar, he highlighted the framework of SOPs – steps/ guidelines being worked upon by India and placing them in the context of other shared experiences. In context of high expectations of service by EMBs, the “Shared experience” was crucial – he offered to share further experience of India, post Bihar elections.
    Mr Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa and Vice Chairperson of A-WEB thanked the Chief Election Commissioner of India for organizing the Webinar on a subject that has affected practically all aspects of our lives. Sharing his experience on the impact of COVID-19 on Democracy and Electoral Cycle he summed up the COVID 19 challenge as “it is safe to say that the only certainty in the world at the moment is uncertainty”. He said that its short term impacts relate to  postponement of elections but  the  defining characteristic of any democracy is the holding of regular elections. This requirement is enshrined into Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The suspension of scheduled elections is, therefore, never lightly undertaken – especially in countries with a history of authoritarianism and disregard for justice and human rights.
    He mentioned long term impacts of the pandemic on democracy. The first of these is likely to be a significant reduction in the availability of resources to support electoral cycle. The economic impact of the pandemic has been devastating to most countries and has seen a steep rise in unemployment, a decline in revenue and a simultaneous increase in demands for additional funding for COVID-related expenditure.  These factors are likely to see budgets for elections and election management bodies significantly reduced in the short, medium and even longer term. These budget cuts come at a time when all EMBs are required to substantially reimagining their electoral processes to ensure the safety of voters and staff – with concomitant increases in expenditure for personal protective equipment, electronic processes and retraining of staff Government funding for political parties is also likely to decline.  The second key impact is likely to be on voter participation and turnout.
    Speaking of ‘Reflections on the South African experience on Elections during COVID-19’, he said that in South Africa, the Electoral Commission took the decision in March 2020 to approach the Electoral Court to suspend all scheduled by-elections. This application to court was granted and continues currently. The reasoning behind the postponement in South Africa was twofold: Firstly to ensure the safety of voters, election staff, candidates and observers. Secondly the imposition of strict government regulations restricting the movement and gathering of people had a direct and negative effect on the ability for all parties and candidates to campaign freely and effectively. The Commission’s view was that under such conditions, elections could not be free, fair and credible. To date, 72 by-elections have been postponed since March 2020. 
    In conclusion Mr. Mashinini said that as defenders of democracy, we must be at the forefront of public discourse around the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic to each aspect of the  electoral democracy.  We must find innovative and pioneering ways to balance the health and safety of our staff, voters and other stakeholders, while still ensuring the health and well-being of democracy not only in our own countries but globally.
    Mr Nuruzzaman Talukdar, Dir General, EC Bangladesh (ECB) informed of the bye elections already conducted, preparations for the 2023 Parliament Elections in the country and ECB’s resolve to deal with the COVID 19 within its extant legal regime which excluded proxy voting/ online voting and  telephone voting. Key point was strategic gradation of election for prioritization.  Key challenge faced is “difficult to predict what proper measure would be applicable for an unpredictable problem”. So to empower the election official to respond appropriately.  ECB is working on the presumption that it would not be “normal” soon/ or in near future & redirected its commitment to ensuring the ‘election cycle’ – a cycle which is the lifeline of people’s representation, guarantee, accountability & transparency.  
    Ms Mona A Srinivas Director(IC), ECI made a presentation on Indian elections and stated  that the sheer numerical (both COVID infections and  voters involved) and  geographical complexity of the on-going challenge of conduct of elections in India under COVID-19 circumstances. She briefed the  Conference on the Rajya Sabha elections conducted on June 2020 & strategies invoked and, the journey of ECI from an initial deferment in March, 2020 up to its conduct in June, 2020.
    The value of decentralized response - probably relevant for big jurisdictions and its balance with a centralized framework was a key take away of the presentation.  It familiarized the Webinar with the steps in process for the Bihar elections and use of technology and innovative procedures to deal with the challenge of ‘numbers’ – in particular the extension of postal ballot facility. Her presentation ended with one of the ECI’s focussed outcomes i.e. ‘no voter to be left behind”.
    Mr Sammy Alfandika, CEO,  Malawi made a presentation  as to how, through the court mandated elections of June 2020, Malawi Electoral Commission had the twin challenge of meeting not only COVID-19 special circumstances and, but the Supreme Court mandate as well. He made a presentation on ‘Conducting elections in a scenario of’ increasing infections’.  The presentation highlighted the role of international cooperation and support to Malawi for equipment & resources.  He highlighted a major challenge to balance the competition between ‘financial and human resources” The success of the effort was a 64.81% turnout, lesser than previous, but an “undisputed” election.
    Mr. Rajeev Kumar, EC India, in his concluding remarks, emphasized the EMBs’ duty  and  resolve to ensure the electoral cycle -  as the key outcome of the session. He  stated that EMBs should avoid the postponement paradox and, that the trust in EMBs’ capacity to deliver should not be allowed to go down.    
    Closing Session
    Mr Dharmendra Sharma, Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner, ECI shared the salient points of all the presentations with the audience. 
    Mr. Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General,  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Intl. IDEA)  said, for them  at IDEA the topic of the Conference, is the topic of the year.  Referring to the trends and figures he said that at the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April, the electoral calendar was dominated by postponed elections, many uncertainties and questions such as: Can elections be held safely for voters and without leading to further spreading of the virus?  Will incumbents abuse the difficulty of holding elections to extend their mandates?  Will the increasing number of postponed elections lead to long term legitimacy deficits? And how long will it take to recover from this deficit? If elections can be held, will they be credible? Will turnout suffer? He said that International IDEA have been very closely monitoring the global developments. 
    The first lesson was the importance of political consensus in sustaining decisions made on the electoral calendar and procedures. The second lesson has to do with Special Voting Arrangements and the need to enable various modalities to cast the vote. The third lesson concerns the enormous impact of communication by the electoral authority. In the Korean case, once again, the authorities made a splendid effort to communicate not only the availability of expanded voting mechanisms, but also the strict sanitary protocols that would be applied to minimize the possibility of contagion in the voting centres. The latter contributed to creating the perception that voters were not confronted with the harrowing decision between exercising their most basic civic right and protecting their health. The fourth point: resources. The pandemic forced us to adopt measures that reduce the risks of contagion, which range from the availability of masks and other protective materials, to the opening of more voting centres and the extension of the voting period. If you want proper elections, you have to be willing to give more financial and human resources to the electoral authorities. Fifth crucial factor: like so many other things, successful elections ultimately depend on controlling the pandemic.  
    Mr. Anthony Banbury, President & CEO, International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) mentioned that democracies depend upon public assembly, transparency, confidence, legitimacy in elections and government institutions—all of which are put at risk by the COVID-19 Pandemic. 
    He mentioned  that every challenge carries with it the potential for positive breakthroughs – and the COVID-19 crisis has generated critical new opportunities to strengthen democratic institutions and electoral processes. Election management bodies, together with partner institutions and organizations like International IDEA, A-Web and IFES, are rethinking election fundamentals in ways that could reap long-term benefits for democratic inclusion. 
    He gave an example, greater attention is being given to the use of postal ballots and advance voting, both of which have the potential in some contexts to increase enfranchisement, especially of underserved voters, such as displaced persons and indigenous communities. 
    From polling station design to the education of voters on voting and public health, previously-routine processes are being up-ended, and IFES – in partnership with EMBs and others around the world – is identifying emerging evidence and best practices on conducting elections during the pandemic. He referred to the COVID-19 Briefing Series of IFES in this context.
    He also encouraged stakeholders to follow ElectionGuide.org, which IFES   have significantly enhanced to make election data widely available to all. The efforts include updating of   ElectionGuide.org to become a hub of open information on the COVID-19 Pandemic and elections.  It is crucial that, during these challenging times, public authorities, including and perhaps especially electoral bodies, political parties, candidates, civil society and the international community, join together to protect the health of both citizens and their democracies. He concluded that together, we will and we must continue to overcome obstacles and build democracies that deliver for all. 
    Mr. Jonghyun Choe, Secretary General, Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) expressed his appreciation to the Election Commission of India for the invitation to attend this meaningful seminar. He said that this Seminar was quite symbolic for India is the largest electoral democracy in the world. He also congratulated the India A-WEB Centre on the excellent achievements since its establishment in September 2019. 
    He said that the entire world has been suffering as result of this pandemic and this unprecedented crisis has greatly impacted the field of election as well. As the Secretary General of the Association of World Election Bodies, he said he has gained a sense of the challenges faced by election management bodies all over the world. Most of these challenges are similar in kind, which means we are truly well advised to join together, work together, share experience and expertise in the hope that we can identify best practices. To that end, we need a forum. And A-WEB has tremendous potential to serve as an effective forum in particular in that it is a universal body. 
    In his concluding remarks, Mr Sunil Arora, CEC India thanked the distinguished speakers and said that COVID- 19 pandemic has changed the way for many of our daily lives and so also it has also changed the way we organise elections. As uncertainty about the pandemic continues, conducting safe and successful elections while ensuring all the elements of a free and fair elections remain intact is a growing concern. Election Management is a very specialized field, and the best way for EMBs to upgrade their skills is to learn from one another through exchange of best practices.  The ideas and experiences shared at the Webinar will be of immense use to all in managing elections.

    He mentioned that  India A-WEB Centre has been established at New Delhi for documentation, research and training for sharing the best practices and capacity building of A-WEB members.      Within a short span of time, the India A-WEB Centre has published two very useful publications viz. ‘Brief Profiles of the Countries, member EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB’  and ‘COVID 19 and International Election Experience’ which have been released today for the benefit of the entire A-WEB community.   The Centre is going to bring out a number of publications and documents, and monographs on various topics related to electoral systems besides   a world class quarterly ‘A-WEB India Journal of Elections’ 
    He also lauded the  pioneering work done by the NEC of the Republic of Korea in successfully holding their general elections in April 2020 and also all other EMBs who have shared experiences of  conducting elections during COVID-19 times. He also appreciated the presentations from International IDEA, IFES and A-WEB which gave us a global perspective on best practices and lessons learnt in the matter. He said that the Webinar will further  foster meaningful exchanges on matters of mutual concern and interest as we share our learning and experiences.  

     
    Over 120 delegates from 45 countries across the world  international organizations (viz. International IDEA,  International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and European Centre for Elections)  participated in the Webinar. 
    The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide.   At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 16 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members.  ECI has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12. 
    The Webinar concluded with a vote of thanks.
     

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  3. A-WEB - The Role of A-WEB in Facilitating Access to Sharing of Experiences During COVID-19

    The Role of A-WEB in Facilitating Access to Sharing of Experiences During COVID-19
    - Seung Ryeol Kim
    Advisor to Secretary General
    Association of World Election Bodies(A-WEB)
     
    How Election Stakeholders Communicate with Each Other during COVID-19: Experiences from Korean 2020 April Election
    - AHN Hongpyo(Max)
    Program Officer
    Association of World Election Bodies(A-WEB)

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  4. A-WEB India Journal of Elections

    Realization of the underlying philosophy of the A-WEB vision and mission envisages, inter alia, in-depth examination of the contemporary issues and challenges faced by the EMBs in the entire gamut of electoral processes and connected areas. In this context, 'Documentation and Research' as aims of the Centre; and publication of a journal as one of the main objectives of the India Centre are both, significant components the 'Conceptual Framework and Strategic Action Plan 2020-24'. In this background, India A-WEB Centre, ECI in consultation with A-WEB, has decided to start a periodic journal titled 'A-WEB India Journal of Elections.
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  5. A-WEB India Journal of Elections- Call For Papers

    The date for receipt of research papers with abstracts, Articles, Book Reviews etc. for the Journal AWI- JOE extended to 31st January 2021.
    A-WEB India Centre, on behalf of all Election Management Bodies, is going to launch this Journal to include global Research Papers, Articles and Book Reviews by renowned writers, scholars, practitioners in areas of contemporary interest in the field of Elections.
    A-WEB India Journal of Elections is a journal, independent in nature, whose policy is set by its Editorial Board in consultation with its Advisory Board. AWI-JOE is envisaged to be a Journal of the highest international standards and will include peer reviewed contributions from members of the A-WEB community and beyond.
    AWI-JOE will publish three types of Papers: Research Papers, Articles and Book Reviews. When submitting a contribution to the AWI-JOE, authors are requested to indicate the category in which their manuscript falls.
    Research Papers should generally be between 4,000 and 10,000 words in length. Research Papers above 10,000 words will be considered only in exceptional circumstances.
    Articles should be up to 4,000 words in the form of highly accessible papers with a view to present major ideas concisely and succinctly.
    The Journal will also publish Book Reviews, Comments in response to AWI-JOE Research Papers or Articles and Notes on topics of current or contemporary interest.
    Some issues of the Journal may also contain a 5,000 to 12,000 words Review Articles – either in the form of a detailed discussion of a single book or as a review of some specific area of the discipline.  

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  6. Bangladesh - Strategies for Managing Elections despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Bangladesh
    Strategies for Managing Elections despite the COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges and Protocols for conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Country Experiences

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  7. Brief Profiles of Countries, EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB

    Brief Profiles of Countries, EMBs and Partner Organisations of A-WEB (January 2020)
     
     
     

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  8. Concept Note - International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation

    International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation
    Background
    'I have the power', this realisation of the importance of the power of the fundamental right to vote and the difference it can make to their lives and the nation makes the Voter the central actor in democratic election process. Is voting just a right, a duty, a voluntary action or an empowering collective journey taken by a huge number of people deciding not the fate of the candidate but their own? Who the voter decides to vote for is their individual choice and decision, but the voter should surely and definitely participate in the election process. Can we empower, inform, engage, and facilitate the voter to do so? Can we understand their reasons and perceptions, beliefs and motivations, barriers and challenges, experiences (good, bad, ugly) and their habits, contexts and contours that shape their decision to cast or not to cast their vote? Can we motivate the voter to realise the power, feel the power, believe in that power and energise him/her to take that call that their one vote can and does make the difference. It is an immense challenge given the diversity, geography, socio-culture-faith factors, family- community dynamics, gender bias, disability and sometime just the habit of apathy, indifference and laziness. Voting is not just a physical action; it is not just a management or logistic issue; it is not just a matter or right or duty; it is harnessing the power of one.
    Voters™ Participation in the democratic and electoral processes is integral to the successful running of any democracy and the very basis of wholesome democratic elections. Thus, it becomes an integral part of election management.
    Inclusion™ is prioritised in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) with stipulates that every citizen must be provided the right and opportunity, without discrimination based on distinctions of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status and without unreasonable restrictions, to vote and to be elected.
    Abuse of money and muscle power in elections, destroys the level playing field. It distorts the spirit of democracy. ‘Quality electoral participation’, in terms of making an informed choice without consideration of any inducement, is the bedrock of a vibrant democracy.
    Thus Inclusive Voter education needs to be given due and strong emphasis with the kind of seriousness and depth it deserves by the election management bodies. Voters™ education is not only the correct but also the most appropriate way to improve participation in a democracy compared to any other alternative. Realizing this, several countries in fact have voters™ education as part of their constitutional mandate.
    Voter Education is a continuous process and has an important role in all phases of the Electoral Cycle
    Stakeholders of Voter Education process
    Election Managements Bodies
    All Eligible Citizens
    Prospective Electors
    Political Parties
    NGOs and CSOs
    Media
    Corporate Sector
    International Community
    IIn the aforementioned backdrop, Election Commission of India proposes to organise an international conference on ‘Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation’ from 19-21st October 2016.
    Objectives
    to study the best practices by EMBs towards promoting inclusive, informed and ethical electoral participation; identify the roles that different stakeholders can play ; assess challenges related to voter education – and ways to tackle them to explore ways and means to impart electoral literacy through curricula and extra-curricula in educational institutions to explore successful methods of imparting electoral literacy to population outside formal sector of educational institutions to explore role of technology in voter education to look at policies and practices that can support inclusive, informed and ethical electoral participation to assess the impact of voter education in supporting informed and ethical participation in electoral democracy Structure of the Conference
    In order to allow for a successful Conference, the participants present experiences and successful practices in the field of voter education leading to inclusive and informed electoral participation in their areas of work. Special initiatives for reaching out to special group of voters like defence forces, overseas citizens etc may also be presented. Other actors that are involved in electoral processes, like CSOs, Media representatives, partner departments who have worked towards participation of women, marginalised groups (e.g. people with disabilities, indigenous peoples etc) would also be able to give a perspective.
    The Conference aims to showcase and elicit good practices – as well as their potential for replication in other contexts – and to provide EMBs with comparative information, data, experiences and examples to mainstream electoral literacy. Moreover, the Conference will aim at coming up with conclusions emerging from the experience of all participants on how to strengthen informed and ethical electoral participation, be it through legal frameworks or different policies.
    Topics:
    Electoral Literacy in formal education : Voter education in curricula and extra curricula Inclusive Electoral Literacy through informal education channel: Reaching out to those outside schools and other marginalised groups i.e. Persons with Disability (PwDs), women, people working in unorganized labour sector, tribals etc) Enhancement of participation by special categories of voters: Outreach for defence personnel, diplomatic mission personnel, polling personnel and overseas citizens Role of Information and Communication Technology for Voter Education & Feedback: Technology use for dialogue with the stakeholders including feedback, surveys etc Voter Education for Informed and Ethical Voting: Building awareness for quality electoral participation among voters and other stakeholders like political parties, candidates, CSOs etc Papers on the topic are invited on select theme so as to group the participants into different thematic groups for sharing of their best practice. The papers shall also be documented in the form of a Conference Reader and shared ahead of the Conference.
    A display section shall also be provided at the venue to exhibit the material being used across countries for Voter Education. Participants are required to bring along literature and tool kits that they would want to showcase and share besides the exhibits and audio-visuals for display.

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  9. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK BROCHURE

    CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK BROCHURE 

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  10. Conference Booklet (October 2016)

    The Conference aims at coming up with a resolution emerging from the experience of all participants on how to strengthen Inclusive, Informed and Ethical electoral participation.
    Contents
    PART I -  Election Commission of India and Voter Education
    PART II - Concept Paper
    PART III - Agenda
    PART IV - Thematic Sessions and related Best Practices
    PART V - Delegates from Election Management Bodies
    PART VI - Experts

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  11. Conference Reader - ‘International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Electoral Processes.’

    Conference Reader - ‘International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Electoral Processes.’  (January 2018)
    This Conference Reader has been prepared to support and facilitate interaction at the ‘International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Electoral Processes.’
    as a part of the 8th National Voters’ Day celebrations. The Reader, starting with the conceptual framework and guidance contained in International Treaties, visits the initiatives and experience
    of different EMBs and International Institutions in addressing issues and challenges of inclusion of PwDs in electoral participation.

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  12. Conference Reader - International Conference on VOTER EDUCATION FOR INCLUSIVE, INFORMED & ETHICAL PARTICIPATION (October 2016)

    This Conference Reader has been prepared to facilitate the interaction during the three day International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation.
     The Reader focuses on some of the fundamental concepts in the realm of democracy, electoral standards and the voter education followed by the readings, for each of the sessions (Sections 1-5), which reflect the strategies, approaches and systems developed and adopted by different countries for voter education besides the Introductory Note and Note on Issues and Challenges in respect of each of the thematic sessions of the Conference. Section 6 offers some Case studies.
     The Introductory Section deals with basic concepts and extends welcome to the Conference through sharing the Indian experience of voter education. International electoral standards emanate from the UDHR and ICCPR etc. Article 21of UDHR speaks of right to participation by all in forming the government in a country, will of the people to be to be basis of the authority, will to be expressed through periodic and genuine elections and elections to be conducted through universal and equal suffrage by secret vote. Article 25 of ICCPR is about participation and introduces human rights aspects into electoral process. Any system operating in a State must be compatible with the rights protected by Article 25 and must guarantee free expression of the will of the electors. The principle of one person, one vote, must apply.
     Participation, direct or indirect through freely elected representatives, is the fundamental connect with the base of substantive human rights. A voter is the central figure who elects in a democracy. Free and fair elections, characterized by inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and competitiveness, are fundamental to democracy and the basis for democratic legitimacy. Elections are a process comprised of multiple steps. Elector confidence or the public confidence in each step of electoral process is vital to the credibility and integrity of an election and in turn the democratic polity.
    For electors, to choose their representatives through the ballot, it is essential that they are fully aware of all the steps and procedures of the electoral process and they are comfortably confident of making informed ballot decisions. In this context, voter education is of tremendous significance and import to the voters, the election management bodies and the contestants. And this is what forms the basis for voter education and its generic macro sphere that is civic education The UNCHR in its Handbook on Human Rights and Elections (1994) has spelt out the guiding principles on “Public Information and Voter Education.” The principles inter alia state that the funding and administration should be provided for objective, non-partisan voter education and information campaigns especially for new voters. The public should be well informed as to where, when and how to vote besides why voting is important. Voters must
    be confident in the integrity of the election process and their right to participate in it. Literature should be widely available in all national languages to help meaningful participation by all eligible voters. Multimedia methods should be employed to provide effective civic education to people. Voter education campaigns should cover the entire territory of the country.
    In this background, aims and objects of voter education must address the information and awareness needs of all categories of voters including the needs emerging from new technologies so that a voter feels confident and familiar with the entire electoral process. Voter education must be universal in coverage and address challenges of gender sensitivity, inclusion, voter apathy, youth engagement besides marginalized sections of society.
    Civic education, as compared to voter education, is a broader and generic concept aimed at conveying knowledge of a country’s political system; the organization, structure and the way it operates. Voter education is most effective when it integrates with civic education that puts the election into context for voters and provides an explanation of the election’s purpose, the surrounding issues, and their significance.
    Strategies and approach adopted for voter education may vary in different countries. EMB’s are primarily responsible for voter education; institutional arrangements and strategies for connect with the Voter. The government, the public and private media, political parties, nonpartisans including international organizations plays a vital supplementary role as stakeholders subject to overall guidelines of the EMB and strict conditions of non partisan approach. 
    In India, ‘Systematic Voters’ Education & Electoral Participation’ (SVEEP) is the flagship programme of the ECI which addresses the voter education needs of over 834 million voters spread over 543 constituencies of the House of People and 4120 Assembly constituencies covering 30 States and Union Territories. Essentially an outreach based programme, it engages voters through multimedia under well designed strategies to connect with the grass roots of Indian democracy with its vertical impact going down to the voters spread over almost a million polling stations located in far flung villages, hamlets in rural areas and its capture of Indian diversity which generates the strength of India’s unity through its democratic polity

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  13. Conference Reader (January 2017)

    This Conference Reader ‘Strategies to Empower Young and Future Voters’ visits the strategies, initiatives and experiences from participating EMB’s and international institutions besides Readings intended not only to support the interaction during the conference but a continued dialogue to enrich the knowledge base for sharing on the VoICE.NET platform. 
     
    The Conference Reader that has been prepared in the Election Commission of India for supporting and facilitating the interaction during the Seminar. The Reader carries important papers from the Participating EMB’s, International Organizations besides the additional Readings on the subject developed through in house expertise in the ECI. We intend placing this document
    and the deliberations of the Seminar on the VoICE.NET Platform for a continued dialogue on ‘Knowledge Sharing’ for the cause of ‘Young and Future Voters’ in the Democracies of the world.

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  14. Fiji - County Experience : Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19

    Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 County Experience: Fiji
    Presentation by Anaseini Senimoli
    Director Operations
    Fijian Elections Office
    3 September 2020

    26 downloads

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  15. IFES - Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Holding Elections During COVID-19

    Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Holding Elections During COVID-19

    25 downloads

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  16. Indonesia - Management of Election During Covid-19 Pandemic: 2020 Indonesia Concurrent Local Election

    Management of Election During Covid-19 Pandemic: 2020 Indonesia Concurrent Local Election
     

    13 downloads

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  17. International Experiences of Conducting Elections during COVID-19

    The document compiles valuable information on experience of conducting elections by different countries despite complex challenges posed byCOVID-19. We congratulate these EMB’s for their contribution to the cause of democracy.
    The document ‘International Experiences of Conducting Elections during COVID-19’ is a valuable contribution of the India A-WEB Centre at these difficult times. The document provides a useful ‘One Stop’ Knowledge resource in learning from the experiences of EMBs who have successfully managed elections. The document is a meaningful initiative in fulfilling A-WEB’s vision and mission.
     
    View E-Book

    67 downloads

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  18. International Idea - Special voting arrangements and management of Elections during COVID-19

    SPECIAL VOTING ARRANGEMENTS AND MANAGEMENT OF ELECTIONS DURING COVID-19
     

    27 downloads

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  19. Malawi - Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19

    MALAWI ELECTORAL COMMISSION :
    Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19: Sharing Malawi Experiences
     

    16 downloads

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  20. My Vote Matters Edition-1 January, 2019 (English & Hindi)

    My Vote Matters Edition-1 January, 2019 (English & Hindi)

    4 downloads

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  21. National Consultation on Accessible Elections

    The National Consultation on Accessible Elections opened with an enthusiastic start with the participation of more than 50 Civil Society Organizations and all the Chief Electoral Officers of States/UTs besides members of National Political Parties and Ministries, Government of India.Reaffirming ECI’s commitment to make elections entirely inclusive, accessible and hassle free for PwDs, Chief Election Commissioner Mr O P Rawat said in the inaugural session - “Despite having International, National laws and treaties or procedures in place, there is still a gap in reaching out to PwDs because of the apathy towards electoral process. I urge all the participants to suggest effective measures and help us devise a policy that can serve as a model framework for all Election Management Bodies of the world. Master Ram Chandra, a technician who was instrumental in creating the Jaipur Foot, which is now famous worldwide for providing assistance to PwDs and like him there are many famous as well as unsung heroes who are the part of war against disability.”

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  22. New File Mark site read Home Downloads My Vote Matters My Vote Matters (April - June 2019, VOL-I, Issue-II) My Vote Matters (April - June 2019, VOL-I, Issue-II)

    MY VOTE MATTERS
    A QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF THE ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA
    April - June 2019, VOL-I, Issue-II

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  23. Presentation on A-WEB India Centre

    India A-WEB Centre
    CONCEPTUAL  FRAMEWORK  AND STRATEGIC  ACTION PLAN  (2020-2024)
     
     
     
     

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  24. Proceedings - International Seminar on Strategies for Empowering Young & Future Voters (January 2017)

    The International Seminar on Strategies for Empowering Young and Future Voters is an important milestone in our endeavour to consolidate and move further in practice of citizenship development for electoral participation critical to investment in democracy, its deepening and sustenance. We had with us, the Heads of the Election Management Bodies, Institutions of Excellence and Experts who brought scholarship, knowledge and rich experience from across the democracies of the world for the cause of voter education for empowering young and future voters. The event came as a part of the National voter’s Day celebrations and was marked by the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Fiji and Nepal for cooperation in the field of election management.
    As the first event on VoICE.NET Knowledge Platform, the Seminar Proceedings witnessed an impressive launch of the Inaugural Issue of the VoICE International, the quarterly e-magazine on the VoICE.NET Platform. The Issue carried a special section dedicated to ‘Strategies for Empowering Young and Future Voters’ aimed at a yet larger knowledge dissemination and value addition to our knowledge resources for empowering young and future voters. We celebrate the value that was created and keep up the tradition for the cause of young people in democracies of the world. 

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  25. Programme Schedule - International Election Visitors Program, 2020

    International Election Visitors Program, 2020 Programme Schedule

    4 downloads

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