Sources

×
Election Part

Voter Registration

Effective voter registration, offered to the broadest pool of citizens possible, is an important means of ensuring that the right to vote is protected. Voter registration is one means of promoting inclusive voting processes, while at the same time safeguarding against voting by ineligible people. Voter registration can be conducted by a variety of means, and these processes vary from country to country. Regardless of the method used, voter registration should ensure inclusivity and should protect electoral rights and fulfill international obligations.

Issues


The Legal Framework and Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Rule of Law

The principles of rule of law were promoted

  • States should take measures to promote the principles of the rule of law. [?]

The laws regulating elections were equally enforced and were not arbitrarily applied

  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Laws and procedures must not be arbitrarily applied. [?]

The legal framework for elections was consistent with international human rights

  • Laws must be consistent with international human rights. [?]

Voter registration procedures were clearly stipulated by law

  • Any restrictions on the right to register to vote are to be established in advance of the registration period. [?]
  • Registration procedures should be clearly stated and readily accessible for review by potential voters. [?]
  • Voter registration procedures should be clearly stipulated in law. [?]

Voter Registration and the Fulfillment of Human Rights

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Universal Suffrage
  • Periodic Elections

The state took the steps necessary to give effect to rights during the voter registration process, including the creation of an effective procedure for voter registration

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • States should ensure the voter registration process is conducted in a manner that respects a variety of rights. [?]
  • Voter registration forms and guidelines should be available in minority languages of the country. [?]
  • States must take steps to establish an effective procedure for voter registration. [?]

There was adequate time for the voter registration process, including exhibition of preliminary lists and opportunities for challenges and corrections

  • The voter registration process should promote broad participation and not inhibit the participation of eligible voters. [?]
  • Potential voters should be offered continuous and accessible voter registration facilities. [?]
  • The voter register and its maintenance must be conducted within a realistic timeframe. [?]

Citizenship

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

The rules regarding citizenship were clear and nondiscriminatory

  • States may regulate the law concerning nationality, citizenship, or naturalization, but may not discriminate against any particular nationality in doing so. [?]

Voter Eligibility and Barriers to Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Universal Suffrage

Limitations on universal suffrage imposed during the voter registration process were reasonable and objective

  • Any restrictions on the right to register to vote are to be established in advance of the registration period. [?]
  • Elections must be held by universal suffrage. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a minimum age. [?]
  • Provisions should be made for absentee registrants. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on residency. [?]
  • The fulfillment of universal suffrage is partially dependent on the success of the voter registration process. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include electronic voting. [?]
  • The voter registration process should promote broad participation and not inhibit the participation of eligible voters. [?]
  • Procedures should not create unnecessary technical barriers to participation by otherwise qualified eligible voters. [?]
  • The right to vote is not absolute and can be restricted based on objective and reasonable criteria. [?]
  • Potential voters should be offered sufficient time to register to vote. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on citizenship. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on criminal conviction. [?]
  • Universal suffrage requires that the broadest reasonable pool of voters is guaranteed participatory rights. [?]
  • Potential voters should be offered continuous and accessible voter registration facilities. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include postal voting. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a requirement for identification. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include making special provision for members of the military to vote. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include mobile voting. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on military service. [?]

Voter registration promoted broad participation, and there were no barriers to participation by otherwise qualified eligible voters

  • The voter registration process should promote broad participation and not inhibit the participation of eligible voters. [?]
  • Procedures should not create unnecessary technical barriers to participation by otherwise qualified eligible voters. [?]
  • Universal suffrage requires that the broadest reasonable pool of voters is guaranteed participatory rights. [?]
  • There should be no fee for citizens to be registered as voters. [?]
  • Provisions should be made for absentee registrants. [?]
  • Potential voters should be offered sufficient time to register to vote. [?]

Voter registration promoted universal suffrage

  • The voter registration process should promote broad participation and not inhibit the participation of eligible voters. [?]
  • The fulfillment of universal suffrage is partially dependent on the success of the voter registration process. [?]
  • Universal suffrage requires that the broadest reasonable pool of voters is guaranteed participatory rights. [?]
  • Elections must be held by universal suffrage. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in the Voter Registration Process

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

Eligibility requirements for voter registration were reasonable and objective and did not discriminate on the basis of prohibited grounds

  • Discrimination must not be practiced based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and expression, migrant, refugee, repatriate, stateless or internally displaced status, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, including infectious contagious condition and debilitating psychological condition, or other status at any time. [?]
  • Specific measures aimed at ensuring de facto equality for persons with disabilities should not be considered discriminatory. [?]
  • Discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]

Voter registration facilities were accessible to all

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]

Special Measures

  • Key Obligations:
  • Equality Between Men and Women
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

Special measures were taken to ensure de facto equality for people with disabilities

  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • Specific measures aimed at ensuring de facto equality for persons with disabilities should not be considered discriminatory. [?]
  • Women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination. [?]

Special measures were taken, as necessary, to promote equality for minorities

  • Special measures for advancing ethnic minorities or groups that have suffered past discrimination should be taken when circumstances warrant, but should not be maintained after the objectives for which they were taken are met, and should not result in the maintenance of unequal rights for different groups. [?]
  • Some measures taken to ensure equitable representation of minority groups should not be considered discriminatory. [?]

The state took steps to ensure de facto equality between men and women

  • States should take special, temporary measures to achieve de facto equality for women. [?]
  • Temporary special measures to achieve de facto equality for women can include financially assisting and training women candidates, amending electoral procedures, developing campaigns directed at equal participation, and targeting women for appointment to public positions, or the use of quotas. [?]
  • Women should enjoy equality with men before the law. [?]
  • The voter registration system should be carefully tailored to ensure that cultural factors affecting women (name changes with marriage) do not result in disenfranchisement. [?]

Voter Registration in Minority Languages

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law
  • Transparency and Access to Information

Linguistic minorities were able to use their own language

  • Where linguistic minorities exist, those that belong to such minorities should not be denied the right to use their own language. [?]
  • Voter registration forms and guidelines should be available in minority languages of the country. [?]

Accuracy of the List

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Genuine Elections That Reflect the Free Expression of the Will of the People
  • Universal Suffrage
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Equal Suffrage

The state took steps to facilitate registration

  • Provisions should be made for absentee registrants. [?]
  • Voter registration is vital to establishing a government based on the expression of the will of the people. [?]
  • A voter list may be reliably established through a variety of acceptable methods, including periodic list, continuous list, or civil registry. [?]
  • The fulfillment of universal suffrage is partially dependent on the success of the voter registration process. [?]

The voter list was accurate and up-to-date

  • To be complete a voter register must be accurate and current. [?]
  • Elections at periodic intervals require regular updating or reestablishment of the voter register. [?]
  • An adequate voter education process is necessary to ensure the electorate is able to utilize their rights. [?]
  • Elections must be held by equal suffrage. [?]

Voter registration processes prevented multiple registrations

  • The electoral system should endeavor to ensure equal suffrage by according each voter and vote equal weight. [?]
  • Safeguards should be in place to ensure that voters are unable to register more than once. [?]
  • Safeguards should be in place to ensure the accuracy of the vote, no matter the form of balloting or counting used (manual, mechanical, or electronic). [?]

Transparency in Creating and Maintaining the Voter List

  • Key Obligations:
  • Transparency and Access to Information

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. [?]

Correction of Voter Registration Data

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to an Effective Remedy
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights

Citizens that offered proof of identity had the right to rectify information about them that was inaccurate

  • The voter register and its maintenance must be conducted with complete transparency. [?]
  • The state must assure that everyone has a right to reply for incorrect information published about him/her. [?]
  • Everyone who offers proof of identity has the right to have rectifications made to information about them in the case of unlawful, unnecessary, or inaccurate entries. [?]

Voter registration procedures allowed for claims (of unjustified exclusion) and objections (for incorrect inclusion)

  • Remedies for inadequate voter registration requires that disenfranchisement be corrected and ineligible people be prevented from voting. [?]

Voter Access to Registration Information

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Transparency and Access to Information

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 state proactively put information regarding voter registration in the public domain

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

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

  • Both claims and objections must be allowed. [?]
  • States should proactively put in the public domain government information of public interest. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • The voter list should be publicly displayed. [?]
  • There should be sufficient time for public inspection of the voter list, for objections to be raised, and for the adjudication of appeals. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to seek and receive information. [?]

Voters had the ability to correct errors in the voter list

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

Privacy and Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law
  • Transparency and Access to Information

Personal data collected was not used for other purposes

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

The voter list did not include information beyond that necessary to identify a voter and establish his/her eligibility

  • Voter lists should not include information beyond what is required to identify a voter and establish a voter's eligibility. [?]

Freedom of Movement for the Purposes of Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Movement

Citizens displaced against their will had the opportunity to be considered resident in their former place of residence

  • People displaced against their will should have the opportunity to be considered resident in their former place of residence. [?]

Citizens were able to return to the country (as necessary) to register to vote

  • Everyone has the right to leave and return to his/her own country. [?]

Freedom of movement was respected throughout the voter registration process

  • Movement may be restricted, but such restrictions must be proportionate and be appropriate to achieve their protective function. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement within the borders of each state. [?]
  • Freedom of movement may only be restricted when provided by law, necessary in a democratic society, and consistent with other rights. [?]

Transparency in Decision Making and Procurement in the Voter Registration Process

  • Key Obligations:
  • Prevention of Corruption

The electoral management body promoted transparency in its decision making and procurement processes, including with regard to voter registration processes

  • States should promote transparency in public decision making as a means of combating corruption. [?]
  • States should implement or maintain effective policies that encourage public participation in order to discourage corruption. [?]

Voter Education on Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Universal Suffrage

Voter education campaigns included information about the voting and registration process

  • Voters should be provided with information on the procedure by which they register to vote. [?]
  • Registration procedures should be clearly stated and readily accessible for review by potential voters. [?]

Voter education campaigns included information regarding voter registration processes

  • Voter education campaigns are necessary to ensure an informed community is able to effectively exercise the right to vote. [?]

Partisan and Nonpartisan Observation of the Voter Registration Process

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Participate in Public Affairs

Candidates and parties were able to monitor the elections and had access to the voter list without undue cost

  • Parties should have access to the voter roll without undue cost. [?]
  • Candidates' agents should be guaranteed access to monitor all aspects of the electoral process, including voter registration. [?]

Citizen observers were able to access and comment on all parts of the electoral process, including voter registration

  • Women have the right to participate in the public affairs of their country. [?]
  • The participation of domestic observers may enhance all aspects of the electoral process. [?]
  • Candidates' agents should be guaranteed access to monitor all aspects of the electoral process, including voter registration. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to participate in the public affairs of his/her country. [?]

Voter Registration Activities by Civil Society

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Association

Civil society organizations were permitted to conduct voter registration free from unreasonable restrictions

  • Everyone has the right to associate with non-governmental organizations. [?]
  • States should recognize accredited NGOs and facilitate their ability to conduct their activities. [?]
  • National law should not unjustifiably restrict the ability of any person to join an NGO. [?]
  • Freedom of association may be restricted under certain circumstances as are prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to association. [?]

Safety, Security, and Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to Security of the Person

The state prohibited interference with registration, intimidation, or coercion of potential voters

  • Law enforcement should behave in a neutral manner. [?]
  • Interference with registration, intimidation or coercion of potential voters is prohibited. [?]
  • States should ensure that violence does not undermine women's political participation. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to security of the person without arbitrary arrest or detention. [?]

Right to an Effective Remedy and Voter Registration

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to an Effective Remedy

An effective remedy was available for all citizens for violations of their rights during the voter registration process

  • Both claims and objections must be allowed. [?]
  • Remedy procedures should be clearly stated in law and pursuit of these procedures should be allowed within a reasonable limit of time. [?]
  • Individuals must have the right to a remedy for violation of their participatory rights relating to the election process. [?]
  • Remedy should be available for complaints arising throughout the electoral process. [?]

There was a clear timeline for complaints regarding voter registration that ensured that complaints were resolved prior to election day and in time for the election

  • Remedy procedures should be clearly stated in law and pursuit of these procedures should be allowed within a reasonable limit of time. [?]
  • Effective redress requires disputes to be dealt with in a timely manner. [?]
  • Decisions on requests for a remedy should be made with a time period set by law. [?]
  • The timeline for filing complaints arising from the voter registration period may be limited directly before the election to allow for the finalization of voter registers. [?]
  • Complaints relating to the voters register should be resolved prior to election day. [?]