Commitments

Require consultation for any significant changes to electoral processes

What are illustrative commitments

About this Commitment

Amibition Level

  • Intermediate Step

Sources of guidance

Requires new legislation?

  • Sometimes

Justification

Even where public confidence in electoral processes is established, it is easily shaken unless political contestants and the general public possess direct knowledge about how policies were established, decisions were made and how they were implemented.

When making policy and procurement decisions such as shifting to a system of electronic voting or electronic voter registration (e.g., electronic poll books or recording biometric data), public engagement is crucial to retain and build trust, and it can help to strengthen the processes themselves. Public engagement is most effective when it takes place with legislative bodies in their electoral related policy and oversight functions, as well as with EMBs and other administrative/executive branch agencies that support electoral processes. Such engagement is important at all levels of government, including at local levels.

Recommendation

  1. Require that Election Management Bodies:
    • Make timely, public announcements, including on a website and other media that are accessible to the population, meeting times and agenda items and hold open public meetings.
    • Establish a liaison committee with electoral contestants that meets regularly to discuss policy making issues under consideration by the EMB, as well as other electoral matters; whenever possible liaison committees should be developed at intermediate (e.g., provincial or regional) and local levels.
    • Conduct public consultations concerning policy decisions, giving the public and political contestants timely notification of upcoming deliberations about adopting significant changes to electoral processes and a meaningful opportunity to ask questions and express views on the matters.
  2. Require, among other open-legislature measures, that the legislature hold public consultations when policies concerning election systems and processes are being considered, whether they concern changes to legislation, budget or oversight matters, and provide a meaningful opportunity for citizens to ask questions and express views on the matters.
  3.  Where other agencies in addition to the EMB conduct important activities related to elections (e.g., concerning census data, establishing electoral boundaries, political party legal recognition or regulation, candidate ballot qualification, political finance, media regulation in the electoral context, nongovernmental organization regulation, including those that monitor or otherwise engage with election issues, and/or electoral security):
    • Make timely, public announcements, including on a website and other media that are accessible to the population, meeting times and agenda items and hold open public meetings.
    • Conduct public consultations concerning policy decisions, giving the public and political contestants timely notification of upcoming deliberations about adopting significant changes to electoral processes and a meaningful opportunity to ask questions and express views on the matters
    • Convene electoral security joint operation centres or other consultative measures that include political party and civil society representatives along with EMB and public safety officials to consider security risk factors and measures to ensure violence free elections.

Standards & Guidance