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Election Part

Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation

The electoral system and boundary delimitation process are important elements of the electoral process. Because they are intrinsically linked, for the purposes of this database they are combined into one constituent part. The electoral system is the system used to convert the number of votes cast into political mandates that ensure the electorate can hold its representatives accountable. There are a wide variety of electoral systems that can be used in electoral processes, and each has consequences for the final composition of the elected body. While public international law does not prescribe the electoral system to be used, it does provide some guidance on the need for inclusiveness and transparency of the system chosen as well as the need for any system to uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms. Boundary delimitation is the process for determining the boundaries of electoral districts as well as the process for determining the number of elected seats per constituency. Boundary delimitation is an important means of ensuring equality in the weight of votes as well as representation in the electoral body, particularly with shifts in the size and makeup of voting populations. The electoral system in use will determine how districts are delimited.

Issues


The Legal Framework for Electoral Systems and Boundary Delimitation

  • Key Obligations:
  • State Must Take Necessary Steps to Give Effect to Rights
  • Right and Opportunity to Participate in Public Affairs
  • 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

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

The legal framework for elections was consistent with international human rights

  • Laws must be consistent with international human rights. [?]
  • Suspension or exclusion of participatory rights is prohibited except on grounds established by law and which are objective and reasonable. [?]

There were clear legal provisions regarding the electoral system and boundary delimitation

  • Voting processes must be subject to the rule of law, not to decisions of the current government or a single party. [?]
  • The process of boundary delimitation should be clearly stated in law. [?]
  • The fundamental aspects of the electoral law should be enshrined in the constitution or at another level higher than ordinary law. [?]
  • The delimitation of boundaries should be enshrined in the constitution or at another level above ordinary law. [?]
  • Electoral legislation should be made widely available to the public for review. [?]

Oversight of Boundary Delimitation

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

The state took the steps necessary to give effect to rights regarding the boundary delimitation process and the electoral system through effective oversight mechanisms

  • Boundary delimitation should not be manipulated to favor particular groups. [?]
  • Boundary delimitation should be managed by an independent and impartial body. [?]
  • Delimitation techniques designed to discount the votes of particular groups or geographic areas are prohibited. [?]

The Election Calendar and Enjoyment of Rights

  • Key Obligations:
  • Periodic Elections

The election calendar provided sufficient time for a review of the boundaries to take place as necessary

  • The delimitation of boundaries should be reviewed frequently enough to ensure equal voting rights and account for population movements. [?]
  • The scheduling of voting processes must allow adequate time to successfully implement other necessary components of the electoral process. [?]
  • Review of boundaries should be conducted sufficiently in advance of the elections as to avoid instability. [?]

Choice of the Electoral System

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

The electoral system allowed multiparty participation and actual and equal representation

  • States must take the steps necessary to give effect to human rights. [?]
  • While no electoral system is prescribed by international law, the system chosen must be consistent with international obligations and should be clearly stated in law. [?]
  • Laws must be consistent with international human rights. [?]
  • All branches of the government and other public or governmental authorities are responsible for meeting the obligation to give effect to human rights. [?]

The legal framework defined the formulas to be used to convert votes into mandates

  • The rules should clearly state the electoral formula to be used to convert votes into mandates and the electoral timeline for the announcement and certification of results. [?]

The electoral system was enshrined in law at the highest level (e.g., the constitution)

  • The fundamental aspects of the electoral law should be enshrined in the constitution or at another level higher than ordinary law. [?]
  • The delimitation of boundaries should be enshrined in the constitution or at another level above ordinary law. [?]

Freedom from Discrimination and Electoral Dispute Resolution

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

The electoral system did not discriminate against citizens on grounds prohibited by international law

  • Redistricting should not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, sexual orientation, or gender identity, disability, or other status. [?]

Criteria for Boundary Appointment

  • Key Obligations:
  • Equal Suffrage

Each vote was of equal weight

  • The electoral system should ensure equal suffrage by according each voter and vote equal weight. [?]
  • Equal suffrage is best achieved by assigning the same number of voters to each representative. [?]
  • Elections must be held by equal suffrage. [?]

Where variances occurred between the number of voters in various constituencies, they were small

  • Equal suffrage is best achieved by assigning the same number of voters to each representative. [?]
  • The electoral system should ensure equal suffrage by according each voter and vote equal weight. [?]
  • The process of boundary delimitation should respect equal suffrage. [?]
  • While true equality in delimitation may not always be possible, variances should rarely exceed 10 percent. [?]

The apportionment criteria were publicly available and included details such as the number of residents, number of registered voters, number of actual voters, or a combination thereof

  • Equal suffrage may be achieved through boundary assignment based on a specific apportionment criterion, which may consider the number of residents, number of resident nationals (including minors), number of registered voters, number of actual voters, or a combination thereof. [?]
  • While true equality in delimitation may not always be possible, variances should rarely exceed 10 percent. [?]
  • Boundary assignment may account for geographical criteria or administrative or historical boundary lines. [?]

Citizen Participation in the Boundary Delimitation Process

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

The right to participate in public affairs was protected, including during the boundary delimitation process

  • Everyone has the right to participate in the public affairs of his/her country. [?]
  • Women have the right to participate in the public affairs of their country. [?]

The boundary delimitation process was subject to independent scrutiny by civil society, candidates and political parties, or other groups

  • There should be public participation in the delimitation process. [?]
  • Candidates' agents should be guaranteed access to monitor all aspects of the electoral process. [?]

Freedom From Discrimination in the Electoral System and Boundary Delimitation Process

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

The electoral system did not discriminate against citizens on grounds prohibited by international law

  • The state must perform both its "negative duty" to refrain from discrimination and its "positive duty" to prevent discrimination. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • 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. [?]

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. [?]
  • Election management bodies should ensure that women and marginalized groups participate in the electoral process. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Redistricting should not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of sex. [?]
  • Temporary measures to achieve de facto equality for women may include the use of quotas to ensure their participation or representation. [?]
  • All are equal before the law, and laws should be equally enforced. [?]
  • Women should enjoy equality with men before the law. [?]
  • Election management bodies should ensure that women and marginalized groups participate in the electoral process. [?]

Right to an Effective Remedy

  • Key Obligations:
  • Right to an Effective Remedy

There was an effective means of seeking redress for violations concerning boundary delimitation and the electoral system

  • States must enforce a remedy when granted. [?]
  • 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. [?]
  • Delimitation of boundaries requires remedies that sufficiently equalize the ratio between population and representation and/or ensure that constituencies as drawn do not discriminate. [?]