Election management bodies should be impartial and should not discriminate in the performance of their public function.
- The bodies responsible for organizing the elections shall be independent or neutral and shall have the confidence of all the political actors. Where necessary, appropriate national consultations shall be organized to determine the nature and the structure of the bodies.
- Establish and strengthen independent and impartial national electoral bodies responsible for the management of elections.
- An independent electoral authority should be established to supervise the electoral process and to ensure that it is conducted fairly, impartially and in accordance with established laws which are compatible with the Covenant.
- The Court has emphasised that it is important for the authorities in charge of electoral administration to function in a transparent manner and to maintain impartiality and independence from political manipulation (see The Georgian Labour Party v. Georgia, no. 9103/04, § 101, 8 July 2008), that the proceedings conducted by them be accompanied by minimum safeguards against arbitrariness and that their decisions are sufficiently reasoned (see, mutatis mutandis, Namat Aliyev, cited above, §§ 81-90, and Kovach, cited above, §§ 59-60).
- Democratic elections should be conducted: e) by impartial…electoral institutions.
- Establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel, as well as competent legal entities including effective constitutional courts to arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the conduct of elections.
- SADC Member States shall adhere to the following principles in the conduct of democratic elections:Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions.
- A national election administration, such as a central election commission or equivalent body, is usually responsible for administering an election. Occasionally, the judiciary may oversee the election process. Whichever body is constituted to administer a particular election, its work should be collegial, non-partisan, transparent, and independent from the authorities and other political influences.
- The independence of a central election commission is enhanced if it is composed or respected and suitably qualified individuals and nominated by a balance of interests. It should be able to implement the election legislation and regulations without interference, intimidation, or impediments to its duty. The administering body could also be made up of balance of representatives nominated by political parties. The balance of party representatives can serve as a check on potential misadministration or abuse of office, particularly if parties are represented at all levels of the election administration. If political-party nominees constitute election commissions, they should be prohibited from campaigning and should be able to act independently without fear of retribution or recall.
- An electoral commission ought to be an independent body established under the Constitution. It was shown earlier that its very establishment, under the Constitution of the country concerned, lays the foundations for its independence. The term ‘independence’ in this context means that the electoral commission concerned is not subject to the control of the government of the day or any political party or any other body, and acts impartially and professionally towards all political parties.
- The functioning of the EMB should not be subject to the direction of any other person, authority or political party. It must function without political favouritism or bias. The EMB must be able to operate free of interference, simply because any allegation of manipulation, perception of bias or alleged interference will have a direct impact not only on the credibility of the body in charge but on the entire election process.
- Election commissions…should…act in an independent and impartial manner. They should not be subject to undue interference or intimidation.
- An impartial body must be in charge of applying electoral law.
- The legal framework should clearly define the duties and functions of the EMB. These must particularly include the following: Ensuring that election officials and staff responsible for the administration of the election are well trained and act impartially and independently of any political interest.
- Whether an election administration is composed of multi-party representatives or non-political representatives—whether it is ad hoc or permanent – there is often some contradiction between the ideal of an independent body and the reality that an election administration will never be entirely free of some government influence. The election administration should be structured to protect it from government influence through: legal guarantees of independence…; budgetary independence…; the appointing body (members…may be nominated by the executive, Parliament, judiciary, or political parties in the process. The official appointing body, whether it be the executive, Parliament or judiciary, should just confirm that the nominations are in line with the law, but should not have the right to hand pick an election commission through repeatedly rejecting nominations. The important point is that the source of the nominations comes from a balance of interests); terms of appointment (the independence of the election commission is best guaranteed when an individual is appointed for some reasonable length of time, as they do not have to depend on each government for reappointment, the duration of appointment for the election administration is ideally longer than the term of office of the appointee).
- The administration of democratic elections requires that election commissions/bodies are independent and impartial.
- Behind any successful recruitment policy for election officials is the recognition that the appointees must not only be fair-minded and impartial in their dealings with the public and political parties but that they must be perceived to be so by all concerned. Thus, active campaigners or officials of political parties would hardly be considered impartial by the supporters of other political parties contesting an election, and so such individuals should not be appointed as election officials.
- Whichever body is constituted or assigned to administer the elections, its work should be independent, impartial, and transparent. The administering body should be independent from political motivated manipulation.
- Whatever the structure [of the election authority], legal guarantees should be in place to insulate electoral administration from bias or corruption.
- An independent electoral commission is generally considered to be an essential element in the organization of free and fair multi-party elections.
- In order for the body which is responsible for the governance and control of an electoral system to play its rightful role in nurturing the integrity of the election process, it must not only be independent of government control, it must be perceived to be so by the general public and the political parties.
- Efficiency and impartiality are qualities by which the electoral commission will be judged by the public.
- In a free and fair election, an independent and impartially administered electoral process is essential.
- In some established democracies, national and local government officials, whose neutrality and fairness are generally accepted by the electorate, handle electoral administration. Ordinary courts settle disputes, as they have a tradition of fairness and neutrality and generally enjoy the confidence of the electorate. In emerging democracies, there has been an increasing trend to establish independent EMBs. This is seen as an important step in building a tradition of independence and impartiality, as well as building the confidence of the electorate and political parties in the electoral process; however, since there is yet no internally-recognized standard in this respect, the term “independent EMB”...means an autonomous and impartial EMB.
- The legal protection afforded to the independence and status of an electoral body is maximised where it is provided for in a country’s Constitution, although some countries make provision for this and other key features of electoral practice in legislation.
- Every EMB is expected to manage elections impartially. Irrespective of the model under which the EMB exists, its source of accountability, management control or funding, it should treat all election participants equally, fairly and even-handedly, without giving advantage to any political tendency or interest group...52. It is important that EMBs be seen to be impartial by the general public. The best way to achieve this is through transparent actions backed by vigorous marketing and public relations efforts.
- In addition, States should take the necessary policy and institutional steps to ensure the progressive achievement and consolidation of democratic goals, including through the establishment of a neutral, impartial or balanced mechanism for the management of elections.
- In 1998, International IDEA published a Code of Conduct on Ethical and Professional Administration of Elections that has been formally endorsed by the electoral authorities of 40 countries and that calls on electoral administrations to honour the following principles: They must (1) demonstrate respect for the law; (2) be non-partisan and neutral; (3) be transparent; (4) be accurate; and (5) be designed to serve the voters. A recent Draft Working Document on Good Commonwealth Electoral Practice has been discussed among chief electoral officers from 33 Commonwealth countries and includes a number of guidelines for good practice. First, the EMB should be legally established and protected to preserve its independence and impartiality. This is best ensured by a Constitutional provision.
- The government and judicial bodies directly or indirectly involved in the electoral process, and the electoral commissions on all levels, must be independent and their work open to scrutiny.
- The functioning of an electoral body should not be subject to the direction of any other person, authority or political party; it must function without political favour or bias. The body in charge of administering or supervising an election must be able to operate free of interference, simply because any allegation of manipulation, perception of bias, or alleged interference, will have a direct impact, not only on the credibility of the body in charge, but on the entire process. There are many instances in which the perceived influence of a political party or parties of the electoral machinery has severely detracted form the validity of election results. Particularly in developing and emerging democracies, there is a much greater degree of vulnerability to allegations of undue influence and bias, thereby making the entire process more susceptible to credibility judgments, which then inevitably result in a limited acceptance of election results and of the process as a whole.
- Regardless of how formed and the degree of partisanship involved, election administration bodies should operate in an independent, collegial, and impartial manner. Once formed, an election administration body must serve the interests of all citizens and electoral participants. No election administration body should act in a partisan manner or exhibit partiality in the performance of its duties.
- Provisions of the law should ensure that an objective, unbiased, independent and effective administrative structure is in place. This entails careful attention to provisions for appointment, remuneration, duties, powers, qualifications and reporting structure of electoral staff. At all levels, staff must be insulated from bias and political pressure. A single line of ultimate authority should be established. These concerns remain important regardless of the type of administration selected.
- Political parties must be equally represented on electoral commissions or must be able to observe the work of the impartial body. Equality may be construed strictly or on a proportional basis (see point I.2.3.b).
- The constitutional and legal framework should: provide for the establishment of an independent and impartial electoral management body.
- [States should] ensure transparency of the electoral process, particularly in: 8.2.1. the organisation of elections: they should be organised by independent and impartial bodies, which should lead to the general introduction of central electoral commissions, ensuring that adequate resources are made available for the effective registration of voters and efficient organisation of the ballot.
- An impartial body must be in charge of applying electoral law.
- In the interest of promoting and entrenching pluralism, multi-party democracy and the integrity of the electoral process, the complete independence and impartiality of the Electoral Commission in dealing with all political parties should be reaffirmed in the constitution.
- The importance and practical usefulness of an…impartial authority charged with the administration of all aspects of the electoral process are increasingly evident.
- Election administrators should: (i) Act in a strictly neutral and unbiased manner in every matter concerning a political party, candidate, voter, or member of the press or media. (ii) Do nothing that could indicate, or be seen as indicating, partisan support for a candidate, political party, political actor or political tendency. (iii) Conduct themselves, at all times, in an irreproachable manner, exercise sound judgment, and observe the highest levels of personal discretion. (iv) Disclose any relationship that could lead to a conflict of interest with their duties as election administrators. (v) Not accept any gift or favor from a political party, organization, or person involved in the lection process. (vi) Reject any improper influences, and, except as provided by law or custom, refrain from accepting directions relating to the performance of their tasks. (vii) Not participate in any unauthorized activity, including any private activity, that could lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest wit their duties as election administrators. (viii) Not participate in any activity, including any private activity, that could lead to a perception of sympathy for a particular candidate, political party, political actor, or political tendency. (ix) Not express a view of any subject that is likely to be a political issue in the election. (x) Not communicate with any voter on a matter of partisan significance. (xi) Not wear, carry or display any obviously partisan party symbols or colours.
- The experience of Commonwealth observer groups strongly suggests that the independence of an electoral commission can best be achieved in a multi-party system through the formal constitutional recognition of the commission’s role to protect the interest of opposition parties on an impartial basis.
- If a judicial body is charged with administering the elections, its independence from executive authorities and political forces must be ensured, including through transparent proceedings. Judicial appointees should be immune from the authority of those standing for office.
- An electoral body, however styled…must…act with impartiality.
- The administration of the election has been fair and impartial as between all the political parties taking part.