Advancing beyond rudimentary levels of confidence in general electoral performance requires making public the underlying workings of the electoral process including details of:
- electoral oversight by the legislature;
- activities and interactions of other governmental bodies that have important electoral related functions;
- decision making on electoral technologies and procurement of sensitive electoral materials;
- drawing up of boundaries of electoral districts (which are central to equality of suffrage);
- qualification of political parties and candidates for the ballot;
- campaign and political finance;
- voter registration;
- voting, ballot counting and tabulation of results and results announcement;
- laws, sanctions, remedies providing redress and accountability.
Making government held data and other information available in each of these areas and providing opportunities for electoral contestants, citizen organizations, the media and the public to scrutinize them is central to increasing public confidence in the credibility of elections and related governmental processes.
- Publish and actively inform the public about all election related laws and procedures, including time requirements for various applications, requests for corrections, appeals and specific definitions of electoral related crimes, along with appropriate penalties.
- Publish widely an easily understandable guide to electoral rights and processes, including how citizens, including electoral contestants, can access mechanisms for redressing electoral violations via administrative and judicial avenues, the required procedures and available remedies, and procedures for requesting electoral related information from the EMB and other governmental agencies.
- Require that EMBs and other governmental institutions that play important roles in electoral processes receive and respond to public requests for election related data and other information under the assumption that information held must be made timely available, unless well justified reasons, such as personnel matters or public security, are provided in writing to the requestor with the possibility for appeal of request denials.
- Appoint a public information officer with the authority to ensure that such information is provided, and broadly inform the public of procedures for requesting information.
- Provide training to personnel of EMBs and other government institutions that play important electoral roles (including at the sub-national level) concerning the public’s right to information (RTI) in the electoral arena and procedures to timely provide that information.
- Establish key classes of election related data to be made proactively available.
- Require that the EMB publish annual data and a comprehensive public report within a year of major elections. All governmental institutions that play an important role in electoral processes including, among others, law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors, should be required to make an annual public report on such matters. The EMB’s annual comprehensive report should cover all elements of the electoral process including lessons learned for fostering transparency, participation and accountability and actions to be taken to ensure effective administration and electoral integrity, and should be presented to the legislature for its oversight purposes and for consideration of improvements to the legal framework for elections.