Electoral Assistance, Observation and Monitoring

Democratic elections, as the focal point of democracy, are one of BiRD 's principal areas of work. BiRD offers services in all stages of the preparation and organisation of elections. Post-conflict elections, transitional elections, or second or third elections in a new democratic setting need specific attention. Strategic planning should precede any electoral process. Apart from reliable voter rolls, which are a precondition of a transparent election, many other areas of assistance can be identified where there is demand for professionalisation of electoral bodies:

  • Enhancing training capacities
  • Building up communication skills and facilities
  • Assisting in the development of education and training materials
  • Logistic planning and budgeting
  • Enhancing evaluation and monitoring capacities

Election observation boosts voters' confidence in the electoral process. It can legitimise
or sometimes delegitimise an election. Careful attention must be given to the planning of missions, their long-term approach, the composition of the co-ordination team, the training of observers, logistics, and the flow of information. Apart from legal and constitutional aspects, voter registration, the admission of candidates, the conduct of the election campaign, free access to the state media, and free media performance are crucial areas to be monitored.

The key to a fair political environment for elections is ”the level playing field”. Often neglected, but equally important for observation, is the post-election period with potential electoral disputes and conflicts. In this area of expertise, organisation of election units and co-ordination of international observer missions is part of BiRD's expertise. Working closely together with local monitors is an obligation to any observation exercise.