Candidates or their agents and accredited observers should be allowed to observe the counting and tabulation of the votes.
- Candidates and their representatives, as well as observers, were able to observe polling and counting
- Party agents and accredited observers were given copies of the protocols and tabulation sheets from the results center
- The vote-counting process was transparent and observable
- Election observers were able to observe the campaign process
- The security of ballot boxes must be guaranteed and votes should be counted in the presence of the candidates or their agents.
- Ensure the transparency of the entire electoral process by facilitating the deployment of representatives of political parties and individual candidates at polling and counting stations by accrediting national and/other observers/monitors.
- Accredited observers are entitled to observe the count.
- The presence of international observers should be facilitated, in line with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and also with the Venice Commission’s Guidelines on an internationally recognised status of election observers. National observers, including from civil society, should be authorised in all member States, in line with the Venice Commission’s Declaration of Global Principles for Non-partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and the Code of Conduct for Non-partisan Election Observers and Monitors.
- Generally, international as well as national observers must be in a position to interview anyone present, take notes and report to their organisation, but they should refrain from making comment.
- The legal framework should provide for the presence of observers, domestic and foreign, and representatives of the media, political parties and candidates, during the counting and tabulation of votes.
- Observation of elections a. Both national and international observers should be given the widest possible opportunity to participate in an election observation exercise.
- The existence of adequate and impartial arrangements for representatives of all political parties to watch the count; those representatives should not interfere with the count, but should be able to comment if they are dissatisfied.
- ...[C]andidates and agents should be allowed to remain with the boxes from closure of polling station to counting of the votes.
- The counting place, be it at the polling station, a constituency center or other centre, should be so organized as to allow the candidates and/or party agents and observers (if any) to see the counting proceedings directly.
- It is particularly important to guarantee the possibility of all parties and candidates to have observers during the election day. In this respect, it is evident that parties have some elements –permanent organization, membership, and so on- which help them in this task, and that are much more difficult to dispose of for other non-partisan candidates. These observers must have the right to control all the spheres of the voting process (polling boxes, election committees at all levels), to intervene – at least, to be heard- in the resolution of possible conflicts which may arise, and to inform the parties which they represent about the problems during the observation so that the latter could lodge appeals against any decision not grounded in legal terms.
- Counting should be open to official observation by concerned parties.
- The legal framework should provide for the presence of the representatives of parties and candidates and election observers during the counting, tabulation and consolidation of votes.
- Results should be verified by party counting agents, who should be asked formally to sign the result they have witnessed and be given a copy of the form signed by the presiding officer and the party counting agents. Party counting agents have a responsibility to remain until the end of a count, to observe the count by personnel appointed by the management body and to sign any correct tally, or else give reasons in writing for their objecting so to do.
- If the count is done at the polling station, the full count should be observed to the end.
- Observation is not confined to the actual polling day but includes ascertaining whether any irregularities have occurred in advance of the elections (e.g. by improper maintenance of electoral lists, obstacles to the registration of candidates, restrictions on freedom of expression, and violations of rules on access to the media or on public funding of electoral campaigns), during the elections (e.g. through pressure exerted on electors, multiple voting, violation of voting secrecy, etc.) or after polling (especially during the vote counting and announcement of the results). Observation should focus particularly on the authorities’ regard for their duty of neutrality.
- The counting process should be transparent and easily verifiable. Candidates' proxies or agents, domestic and international observers and the media should have the right to observe the whole counting process including, where applicable, the tabulation of votes.
- Procedures for counting should be known to those election officials, party agents, observers and any other authorized persons who are permitted to be present during the count.
- Regardless of whether ballots are counted at the polling station or a central counting location, ballots must be counted in the presence of observers.
- Observation of elections b. Observation must not be confined to election day itself, but must include the registration period of candidates and, if necessary, of electors, as well as the electoral campaign. It must make it possible to determine whether irregularities occurred before, during or after the elections. It must always be possible during vote counting.