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Election Part

Voting Operations

The effective process of recording votes on polling day(s) is a key component of a democratic election. The manner in which voting operations are conducted, and the degree to which they are transparent, can help ensure public confidence in the electoral process and acceptance of results. Although the enjoyment of electoral rights is dependent on the implementation of detailed processes and procedures, international law does not provide a great deal of guidance on how the voting process should unfold, and the process varies from country to country.

Issues


Legal Framework for Voting Operations

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

The principles of rule of law were promoted

  • Voting processes should be guided by regulatory frameworks and should be subject to the rule of law. [?]
  • 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

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • Laws must be consistent with international human rights. [?]

The Election Calendar and Enjoyment of Rights

  • Key Obligations:
  • Periodic Elections

The electoral calendar provided adequate time to prepare for and implement all aspects of the election process, including voting operations and election-day procedures

  • The scheduling of voting processes must allow adequate time to successfully implement other necessary components of the electoral process. [?]

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. [?]

Special Measures

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

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. [?]

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

  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Special measures for advancing ethnic minorities or groups that have suffered past discrimination may include quotas to ensure minority participation or representation. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Women should enjoy equality with men before the law. [?]
  • Temporary measures to achieve de facto equality for women may include the use of quotas to ensure their participation or representation. [?]
  • Special measures for advancing women where they have suffered past discrimination may include quotas to ensure participation or representation. [?]
  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination against women and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination against women. [?]

The Right to Vote, and Voting Operations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law

Any restrictions on the right to vote were established in advance of election day, and any loss of that right was only imposed after adjudication by a court

  • Any restrictions on the right to vote are to be established in advance of election day. [?]
  • Loss of the right to vote may only be imposed following adjudication by a court. [?]

Poll workers were adequately trained in the determination of eligible voters

  • Voter identification and related procedures should not discriminate on the basis of the enumerated grounds. [?]
  • Polling personnel should receive clear guidance with respect to identifying and admitting eligible voters. [?]

The right to vote was guaranteed by law and was subject only to reasonable and objective restrictions

  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on homelessness. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on a registration fee. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on mental incapacity determined by a court. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on residency. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on status as an internally displaced person. [?]
  • Residency requirements should not be excessive, or may be considered discriminatory. [?]
  • Limits placed on the right to vote must be based on objective and reasonable criteria. [?]
  • Criteria restricting the right to vote must be clearly stated in law. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on literacy. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on political opinion, affiliation (past or present), or membership in a political party. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on economic circumstances. [?]
  • The right to vote in local elections may be extended to foreign residents. [?]
  • Limitations on the voting rights of convicted criminals should be proportionate to the offense and the sentence. [?]
  • The right to vote is not absolute and can be restricted based on objective and reasonable criteria. [?]
  • The age of majority is eighteen or younger. [?]
  • Every citizen has the right 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. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a requirement for identification. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on property ownership. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a minimum age. [?]
  • Registration must not be restricted among potential voters based on naturalized citizenship. [?]

Facilitation of Voting

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

Polling places were located in public places that were easy to access

  • Polling sites must be accessible. [?]
  • Polling stations should be located in public places. [?]

Polls opened on time and did not close early. People in line to vote at poll closing were able to cast their ballot

  • Late opening or early closing of polls undermines the right to vote. [?]
  • All persons waiting in line at the close of polls should be permitted to vote. [?]

Sufficient resources, human and material, were available at each polling station

  • Sufficient voting materials should be available at each polling site. [?]
  • The polling station and its staff should be of sufficient size to handle the expected number of voters. [?]

There were an adequate number of polling places to accommodate voters

  • There should be enough polling places to accommodate the number of voters. [?]

Voting operations facilitated broad participation

  • Elections must be held by universal suffrage. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including the elderly. [?]
  • Cases of accommodation of voters with special needs should be well defined. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on mental incapacity determined by a court. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including foreign-service personnel. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include electronic voting. [?]
  • Limits placed on the right to vote must be based on objective and reasonable criteria. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include voting abroad. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including the illiterate. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including conscripts. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include establishing polling sites in hospitals. [?]
  • Universal suffrage requires that the broadest reasonable pool of voters is guaranteed participatory rights. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including students. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on citizenship. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on criminal conviction. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include postal voting. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a requirement for identification. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including eligible voters currently out of the country. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include making special provision for members of the military to vote. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include mobile voting. [?]
  • Provisions on the rights of active duty military personnel to vote should be carefully written to avoid abuse and potential disenfranchisement of voters. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on a minimum age. [?]
  • Special voting procedures must provide the necessary security and transparency to the voting process. [?]
  • Various methods may be employed to facilitate voting for those unable to reach a polling station. [?]
  • Limits on the right to vote may be based on residency. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include establishing polling sites in prisons. [?]
  • Limitations on the voting rights of convicted criminals should be proportionate to the offense and the sentence. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including workers (and migrant workers out of country). [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including prisoners who have voting rights. [?]
  • Methods to facilitate voting may include early voting. [?]
  • Every citizen has the right to vote. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including eligible voters in hospitals. [?]
  • E-voting systems should facilitate voting by persons with disabilities. [?]
  • Accommodation to vote should be made for voters with special needs, including persons with disabilities. [?]

Polling Places Accessible to Voters with Disabilities

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

Polling places were accessible

  • Everyone has the right of equal access to any place or service intended for public use. [?]
  • Access to the media should be guaranteed to all political parties and candidates and be fairly distributed. [?]

Assisted Voting

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote
  • Secret Ballot

Impartial assistance for voters unable to vote independently was provided

  • Secrecy of the ballot should be maintained throughout the entire voting process. [?]
  • Accommodations for voters with special needs should protect the right to vote secretly. [?]
  • Except in cases where a voter is being lawfully assisted, voters cannot waive their right to secrecy of the ballot. [?]
  • Voting procedures, facilities, and materials should be appropriate, accessible, and easy to use for persons with disabilities. [?]
  • Electors who are unable to vote independently should be made aware of the guarantee of impartial assistance. [?]
  • Assistance provided to those unable to vote independently must be impartial. [?]

Voters were made aware of their right to impartial assistance if needed

  • Electors who are unable to vote independently should be made aware of the guarantee of impartial assistance. [?]

Proxy Voting

  • Key Obligations:
  • Universal Suffrage
  • Secret Ballot

Proxy voting, if allowed, was strictly regulated

  • Proxy voting is allowed, but should be strictly regulated to respect electoral security. [?]
  • Proxy voting should be strictly regulated to not compromise secrecy of the ballot. [?]

Secrecy of the Ballot

  • Key Obligations:
  • Secret Ballot

Family and group voting were prohibited

  • Family/group voting should be prohibited. [?]

Polling stations were set up to ensure secrecy of the ballot

  • Care should be taken to ensure the location of polling does not undermine the secrecy of the ballot. [?]

The legal framework offered clear guidance with regard to the secrecy of the ballot

  • The election should be held by secret ballot. [?]
  • Secrecy of the ballot should be maintained throughout the entire voting process. [?]
  • The system for balloting (paper, electronic, or otherwise) should ensure the secrecy of a voter's choice. [?]
  • Accommodations for voters with special needs should protect the right to vote secretly. [?]
  • Electoral legislation and its regulations should offer clear guidance with respect to the secrecy of the ballot. [?]

Voting Technologies

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

Electronic voting technologies operated correctly, and their functioning was ensured by the state through an independent body

  • Voters should be able to tell when their vote has been cast. [?]
  • The correct functioning of e-voting systems should be ensured by the state through an independent body. [?]
  • Voting technologies should work correctly. [?]

Voting technologies were usable by voters and secure from interference

  • The voting system, including electronic systems, should be sufficiently secure against fraud. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in Voting Operations

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

The voting process did not discriminate against anyone 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. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of sexual orientation are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Distinctions made on the basis of disabilities are to be considered discrimination. [?]
  • Voter identification and related procedures should not discriminate on the basis of the enumerated grounds. [?]

Ballot Design and Voter Choice

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Vote

Ballots were understandable and user-friendly

  • Ballots, including electronic ballots, should be understandable. [?]
  • Voters should be able to cast a blank ballot, including when voting on electronic technologies. [?]
  • Ballots should be available in the principal languages in multilingual societies. [?]
  • Ballots should be identical in all languages. [?]
  • Ballots should account for levels of literacy. [?]

Voters were able to verify their choice on their ballot and could alter their choice before casting their ballot

  • Voting systems should offer an authentic ballot to voters and ensure that their votes are accurately represented. [?]
  • Voters should be able to alter their choice before casting their ballot. [?]

Freedom of Movement and Voting Operations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Freedom of Movement

Freedom of movement was respected throughout the electoral process

  • Everyone has the right to leave and return to his/her own country. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement within the borders of each state. [?]

Voters displaced in advance of election day had the possibility of returning on election day to cast their ballots

  • Everyone has the right to leave and return to his/her own country. [?]
  • Voters should be able to access polling stations. [?]
  • If voters have been displaced in advance of voting, the possibility should exist for them to return on election day to cast their ballot. [?]

Partisan and Nonpartisan Observation of Voting Operations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right and Opportunity to Participate in Public Affairs
  • Freedom of Association
  • Freedom from Discrimination and Equality Before the Law
  • Right and Opportunity to Be Elected

Candidates and their representatives were able to observe polling and counting as means of protecting their right to be elected

  • Candidates, party agents, and accredited observers should have access to polling stations. [?]
  • Limits on individuals wishing to run for office may only be based on objective and reasonable criteria, including criminal conviction. [?]
  • Candidates' agents should be guaranteed access to monitor all aspects of the electoral process. [?]
  • Limits on individuals wishing to run for office may only be based on objective and reasonable criteria, including support from a minimum number of citizens. [?]
  • Candidates and party agents should have access to polling stations. [?]
  • Limits on individuals wishing to run for office may only be based on objective and reasonable criteria, including residency. [?]
  • Limits on individuals wishing to run for office may only be based on objective and reasonable criteria, including citizenship. [?]
  • Every citizen has the right to be elected. [?]
  • Limits on those wishing to run for office must be based on objective and reasonable criteria. [?]

Observers were able to access places used for voting

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

The state accredited citizen observer organizations and facilitated their ability to conduct their activities

  • States should recognize accredited NGOs and facilitate their ability to conduct their activities. [?]
  • The participation of domestic observers may enhance all aspects of the electoral process. [?]

Access to Information and Electoral Documents

  • Key Obligations:
  • Transparency and Access to Information

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 when an expression seeks to destroy other established rights. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • 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. [?]

Deterrence of Fraud

  • Key Obligations:
  • Equal Suffrage
  • Secret Ballot

Procedures did not diminish the value of the votes of particular individuals, groups, or geographic areas

  • Elections must be held by equal suffrage. [?]
  • Polling procedures designed to diminish the value of the votes of particular individuals, groups, or geographic areas are unacceptable. [?]

Safeguards were in place to prevent multiple voting and other forms of ballot fraud

  • Provided they allowed for consistency with other international obligations, safeguards may be used to diminish the potential for duplicate voting. [?]
  • All ballots, including unused ballots, should be accounted for during election day. [?]
  • Ballot box "stuffing" is prohibited. [?]
  • Sensitive election materials should be stored securely throughout the voting process. [?]
  • Voters' fingers may be marked to prevent duplicate voting. [?]
  • Duplicate voting is prohibited. [?]
  • The electoral system should endeavor to ensure equal suffrage by according each voter and vote equal weight. [?]
  • As voting begins, ballot boxes should be shown to be empty. [?]
  • Ballot boxes should be properly sealed at the beginning of the vote. [?]

Safeguards were in place to prevent removal of evidence of how a voter voted from the polling station

  • Sensitive election materials should be stored securely throughout the voting process. [?]
  • Safeguards should be in place to prevent removal of evidence of how a voter has voted from the polling station. [?]

Prevention of Corruption and Voting Operations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Prevention of Corruption

The electoral management body maintained and implemented policies to prevent, address, and penalize acts of corruption, including during the voting process

  • Corruption includes the solicitation or acceptance of something of value in exchange for an advantage. [?]
  • Corruption includes the offering or granting of something of value in exchange for an act or omission in the performance of a public function. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Corruption includes participation or conspiracy to commit corrupt activities. [?]
  • States should ensure transparency in procurement. [?]
  • Corruption includes any act or omission of official functions by a public official to gain illicit benefits. [?]
  • Corruption includes improper influence. [?]
  • Corruption includes fraudulent use or concealment of property derived from corrupt activities. [?]
  • Corruption includes the use of state property for purposes other than those for which they were intended for the benefit of the public official or a third party. [?]

Training for Election Officials

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights

The state educated officials and citizens on the voting process

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • Necessary steps to give effect to human rights include education of the population and state officials in human rights. [?]

Safety, Security, and Voting Operations

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to Security of the Person

Security personnel played a positive role during the electoral process, providing protection for voters, candidates, and electoral management body personnel without interfering in the process

  • Law enforcement should behave in a neutral manner. [?]
  • Voters have a right to security provided by police and security forces in polling stations, but without interference from them. [?]

Election officials were able to maintain order at the polling station

  • The highest election official at the polling site should have authority to maintain order. [?]

Potential voters were able to vote without intimidation or coercion

  • Interference with registration, intimidation or coercion of potential voters is prohibited. [?]
  • Voters are free to vote for any candidate for election, for or against any referendum or proposal, for or against the government, without undue influence or coercion of any kind which may distort or inhibit free expression. [?]
  • 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. [?]

Safeguards were in place to prevent coercion of voters

  • Safeguards should be in place to prevent removal of evidence of how a voter has voted from the polling station. [?]

Right to an Effective Remedy and Voting Operations

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

Steps were taken to prevent and punish fraud and electoral offenses

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • The requirement to take steps to give effect to human rights is unqualified and of immediate effect. [?]
  • Necessary steps to give effect to human rights include education of the population and state officials in human rights. [?]
  • Necessary steps to give effect to human rights include an obligation to regulate violations of human rights by non-state actors. [?]
  • Necessary steps to give effect to human rights include a requirement to prevent, punish, investigate, or redress violations of human rights by non-state actors. [?]
  • The state has a duty to punish cases of electoral fraud. [?]

The state provided an effective (timely and enforceable) remedy to all citizens for violations of their rights, including in the context of voting operations

  • Individuals must have the right to a remedy for violation of their participatory rights relating to the election process. [?]
  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by a competent national tribunal for acts that violate his or her rights or freedoms. [?]
  • Remedy should be available for complaints arising throughout the electoral process. [?]
  • Effective redress requires disputes to be dealt with in a timely manner. [?]