Obligation

Transparency and Access to Information

International and regional treaties establish that everyone has the right to seek and receive information.[1] While an important right itself, access to information is also a critical means of ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the electoral process. When taken together with the state’s obligation to take the steps necessary to give effect to rights and with the transparency-related elements of the obligation to prevent corruption, a strong argument can be made for an obligation for transparency in the electoral process.

A limited set of reasonable and objective restrictions may be placed on access to information. Such restrictions include those in the interests of:

  • National security;[2]
  • Protecting territorial integrity;[3]
  • Public safety;[4]
  • Maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary;[5]
  • The prevention of disclosure of information received in confidence.[6]

In addition, access to information may be restricted in order to protect the rights and freedoms of others and when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights.[7] It may also be restricted to protect personal data.[8] States should take steps to ensure access to information for people with disabilities without additional cost.[9]

Issues


Transparency and Access to Electoral Documents

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

The right of access to information was protected for everyone

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • States should take steps to ensure access to information for persons with disabilities without additional cost. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • An applicant for an official document should not be obliged to give reasons for requesting an official document. [?]

The state proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

Voter Access to Registration Information

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

The state proactively put information regarding voter registration in the public domain

  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

Citizens had access to information regarding their inclusion on the voter list, and this information was provided to them in an intelligible format

  • Everyone has the right to receive information about his/her inclusion on the voter list. [?]
  • Everyone who offers proof of identity has the right to know whether information concerning him/her is being processed, and to obtain it in an intelligible form. [?]

The voter list was publicly displayed, and there was adequate time for public inspection of the list, including time for objections and the adjudication of disputes

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Transparency requires that electoral registers be public documents available for review. [?]

Voters had the ability to correct errors in the voter list

  • Everyone has the right to rectification of incorrect personal data. [?]
  • Potential voters should have access to a procedure that makes it possible to have errors on the voter list corrected. [?]

Transparency in the Reporting, Transmission, and Publishing of Election Results

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Vote Counting and Tabulation

The counting process was verifiable and the ballots preserved for later review

  • Vote counting procedures should be verifiable and votes should be preserved for review. [?]

Results were published in a timely manner, were publicly announced, and were posted at the counting station

  • Results should be publicly announced, including through posting at the counting station. [?]
  • The results of the count should be published in a timely manner. [?]
  • Detailed results should be available down to the lowest levels of aggregation (polling station). [?]

The state proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

Access to information was guaranteed throughout the electoral process, including during the counting and tabulation process

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]

Pluralistic and Balanced Media

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

A pluralistic media promoted citizen access to information, and the media was free to play an impartial and objective role in covering electoral issues

  • The structure of media ownership should be transparent. [?]
  • The state should endeavor to ensure a pluralistic media that allows its citizens to access a variety of viewpoints and media outlets. [?]
  • States should take steps to ensure a free and independent media. [?]

The structure of media ownership was transparent so that citizens could better understand potential biases in their information sources

  • The structure of media ownership should be transparent. [?]

Access to Electoral Information

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

The right of access to information was respected throughout the electoral process, including its relation to the media

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • An applicant for an official document should not be obliged to give reasons for requesting an official document. [?]

The state proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

Transparent Dispute Resolution Process

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Electoral Dispute Resolution

Potential complainants were informed of the means of filing a complaint and the timeframe of its resolution

  • Complainants should be informed of the means by which to file a complaint and the timeframe for its resolution. [?]

The judgments, findings, and evidence of judicial proceedings, and legal reasoning for judgments, were made public

  • The judgment, findings, and evidence of judicial proceedings and legal reasoning of the judgment must be made public except in cases involving juveniles and/or matrimonial disputes. [?]

The state proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

Parties to the complaints had access to factual information regarding the alleged violations

  • An effective remedy requires access to the factual information concerning the violations. [?]

Transparency and access to information were respected during the dispute resolution process

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]

Transparency in Creating and Maintaining the Voter List

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

There was transparency in the creation and maintenance of the voter list

  • Electoral documents should be publicly accessible and should be accurate. [?]
  • Voter registration forms and guidelines should be available in minority languages of the country. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to receive information about his/her inclusion on the voter list. [?]
  • Transparency requires that electoral registers be public documents available for review. [?]

Disclosure of Campaign Finances

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Candidacy and Campaigning

The funding received by a political party and/or candidate was disclosed in regular reports

  • Reports should be timely, public, detailed, and comprehensive and should be understandable to the public at large. [?]
  • States should require that parties and related entities keep proper books and accounts and that the accounts of parties be consolidated to include the accounts of said related entities. [?]
  • Special records for direct and indirect contributions to campaigns should be required. [?]
  • Parties should offer access to their foundational documents, procedures, and accounts. [?]
  • Separate reporting requirements should be adopted for operational and electoral activities. [?]
  • The system should be transparent in disclosing the funding received by any political party or candidate. [?]
  • States should require that parties present and make public their accounts. [?]
  • States should require the accounts of a political party to specify all donations received by the party including the nature and value of the donation. [?]
  • States should require records of expenditure. [?]
  • Election campaign reporting schedules should allow release of the report in advance of election day. [?]

Campaign finance reporting requirements were realistic, and disclosure requirements struck a balance between transparency and the privacy of donors

  • Requirements for financial reporting of electoral activity should be realistic. [?]
  • Disclosure regulations should strike a balance between transparency and privacy. [?]

Disclosure provisions should clearly identify what counts as campaign expenditure

  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: disclosure provisions should distinguish between routine party finances and electoral finances. [?]
  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: disclosure rules should include both national and local party finances. [?]
  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: donations should be itemized into standardized categories. [?]
  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: disclosure provisions should distinguish between the financing of political parties and the financing of candidates. [?]
  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: disclosure provisions should distinguish between income and expenditure. [?]
  • Public legislation on disclosure should adopt the following guideline: donations exceeding a certain minimum threshold should be disclosed. [?]

Voter Registration in Minority Languages

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

Linguistic minorities were able to use their own language

  • Voter registration forms and guidelines should be available in minority languages of the country. [?]

Free Airtime and Paid Advertising

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

Free airtime for candidates and parties was granted during peak viewing or listening hours

  • Free broadcasts should be aired during peak viewing and listening periods. [?]


Access to Information and Electoral Documents

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voting Operations

Documents regarding the electoral process, including voting operations, were publicly accessible and accurate

  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]

The right to access to information was respected throughout the voting process

  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing crime or disorder. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting personal data. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of public safety. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of territorial integrity. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of protecting the reputation and rights of others. [?]
  • Access to information may be restricted only in limited cases, including in the interest of national security. [?]

Privacy and Voter Registration

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • Voter Registration

Personal data collected was not used for other purposes

  • Personal data should be used only for the purposes for which it was collected. [?]

Protection of Sources

  • Relevant Election Parts:
  • The Media

The media was able to report on electoral issues, including from confidential sources without government interference

  • States should consider measures to protect whistle-blowers. [?]
  • The right of the media to gather information, including from confidential sources without government interference, should be assured. [?]

The media was given access to information, particularly with regard to allegations of corruption and related offenses

  • The media should be given access to information in cases of corruption and related offenses. [?]


Sources

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