Proactive disclosure of data related to the conduct of elections can be a key measure for building public confidence by making it easier for electoral contestants, citizen organizations, the media and the public to understand and verify electoral integrity. Individual citizens, citizen organizations and political contestants can confirm the accuracy of critical processes, identify omissions and seek corrections (for example in voter registries). Rapid disclosure of vote count data, with appropriate information about likely unevenness of reporting geographically and the differences between preliminary results and final results after quality checks and appeals processes are completed, can reduce political tensions, help unsuccessful contestants understand and accept results and gain public trust.
Disclosure of election related complaints, incidence of malfeasance, electoral related crimes and measures taken to address them demonstrates that governmental institutions are committed to deterring and prosecuting electoral offenders and establishing accountability around elections.
Making timely information available in easily accessible, machine-readable formats like spreadsheets, downloadable databases, through an application programming interface (API) or other such means, as well as in online searchable formats, allows electoral contestants, citizen election monitors, data journalists and academics to conduct analysis, make fact-based findings and contribute to electoral integrity efforts. Online disclosure can be the cheapest and most efficient way to reach multiple audiences in many countries and can reduce the workload of EMBs and other government agencies that conduct election related activities. However, where the Internet is not widely available or a practical solution, data related to elections can be made available through CD-ROMs or other inexpensive and timely means.
Data which should be proactively disclosed includes:
- Data related to voting rights and the drawing of electoral boundaries, including the description of electoral boundaries (ideally available in an electronic format such as GeoJSON, KML, or other relevant format), as well as data used to draw boundaries, such as data on the number of eligible voters, minority populations, and the actual number of registered voters for each electoral level.
- A searchable version of the voter registry that is reasonably formatted for automated processing (analysis) both in its preliminary and final forms.
- Data on the number of objections and claims for correction to voter registry information, along with the voting districts related to them and the disposition of the matters.
- Population data (including data on age, gender and ethnic/minority groups), geographic and administrative district information relevant for verifying the accuracy of voter registries and for determining the boundaries of election districts.
- Detailed information on where to vote, including the address and contact information for every Election Day polling location and if applicable, when and where early voting and/or absentee voting may occur.
- Voter turnout information (including by age, gender and ethnic/minority group), including the number of voters registered and the number of voters participating at the point of voting (e.g., polling station) as well as by aggregates for each electoral district and nationally, in addition to election results at the location of initial counting of ballots (e.g., polling station) and in the aggregate.
- Detailed information on vote counts, including unused, invalid and blank ballots cast as well as votes cast for each electoral contestant, at the place of balloting, intermediate tabulation centres and the national consolidation centre, disaggregated by the place of balloting and in the aggregate.
- Information from past elections (along with relevant population and other data), including voter registration and voter turnout by age group, gender and ethnic/minority group, at the polling site level as well as in election district and national aggregates.
- Data on campaign finance clearly identifying all individual contributions made by donors and parties, including the names of contributors.
- Data on the number of complaints received concerning electoral violations, actions taken and the outcomes of such cases, including the number of administrative investigations, actions and disposition of cases concerning malfeasance and significant misfeasance.
- Data on the number of complaints and challenges to electoral results, the parties lodging the matter, the remedy employed (if any) and the outcome of the action.
- Data on incidents of electoral related violence, the types and scales of such incidents, which law enforcement and/or public security body responded.
- Data on criminal investigations of electoral abuses, the number electoral related prosecutions and the charges involved, the parties to the actions and the outcomes of the cases and the number and types of penalties, fines and incarcerations that were imposed.
- The number of administrative and civil actions (cases) involving vendors and other contractors that concern electoral related procurements and other contracts, the names of the parties in the case, the nature of the claims and the outcomes of the cases (including penalties, if awarded).