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.
- Every citizen had the right to be elected, subject only to reasonable restrictions
- The vote-counting process was transparent and observable
- Candidates and their representatives were able to observe polling and counting as means of protecting their right to be elected
- Vote counting and tabulation processes protected the right to be elected
- If a candidate is required to have a minimum number of supporters for nomination this requirement should be reasonable and not act as a barrier to candidacy.
- The electoral law should establish the procedure for the verification of signatures collected in support of candidates.
- A provision requiring would-be registered parties to obtain a certain number of signatures (between one and five hundred) as a pre-condition to acceptance was upheld as reasonable.
- In order to avoid having to declare a vote totally invalid, an authority must have the power, prior to the vote, to correct faulty drafting, for example: i. when the question is obscure, misleading or suggestive; ii. when rules on procedural or substantive validity have been violated; in this event, partial invalidity may be declared if the remaining text is coherent; subdivision may be envisaged to correct a lack of substantive unity.
- Discriminatory criteria such as education, residence, decent or political affiliation, are not acceptable, likewise to require an unreasonable number of signatures for registration.
- The obligation to collect a specific number of signatures is not uncommon by international standards. However, it is generally agreed that signature requirements should not be too high.
- The legal framework should clearly set forth all details on this issue for a particular election. This includes the dates for commencement and closure of registration, during what time period and how signatures are to be collected where registration is to be established by signatures, and the process of verification of registration. Where the legal framework provides for the collection of signatures, it should provide for a reasonable amount of time for collection of the signatures. The legal framework should provide for uniformity in the registration process so that the same process applies to all candidates at all levels.
- It is important that minor formal errors do not automatically result in the signature lists being declared invalid. Provisions should be made to allow for the correction of any formal or minor errors in the nomination and registration process.
- The threshold level of support (such as demonstrated through the submission of petitions signed by voters) should also be reasonable (in terms of the number of signatures required, the time allowed for collection, and other procedural requirements). The process of verifying the authenticity of signatures supporting a candidacy must be reasonable and applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.
- With signature requirements, the checking of signatures is necessary. The process is not only time consuming, but also open to abuse. This is especially true if, by law, only a sample of the signatures is checked at random and in an inconsistent manner.
- The presentation of individual candidates or lists of candidates may be made conditional on the collection of a minimum number of signatures; ii. The law should not require collection of the signatures of more than 1% of voters in the constituency concerned; iii. Checking of signatures must be governed by clear rules, particularly concerning deadlines; iv. The checking process must in principle cover all signatures; however, once it has been established beyond doubt that the requisite number of signatures has been collected, the remaining signatures need not be checked; v. Validation of signatures must be completed by the start of the election campaign
- Reasonable restrictions on persons wishing to become candidates may include a residency requirement in the country for a certain period of time, minimum support among voters, or the fact of having reached a higher age than the minimum voting age.
- If authorisation is required in order to gather signatures for popular initiatives or requests for a referendum on public thoroughfares, such authorisation may be refused only in specific cases provided for by law, on the basis of overriding public interest and in accordance with the principle of equality.
- Having collected a minimum number of validated signatures of registered voters. Special attention should be given to the manner of validating signatures. An invalid signature should merely be what it is—an invalid signature. It should not invalidate other signatures or the signature list.
- The time-limit for collecting signatures (particularly the day on which the time-limit starts to run and the last day of the time-limit) must be clearly specified, as well as the number of signatures to be collected.
- Everyone (regardless of whether he or she enjoys political rights) must be entitled to collect signatures.
- Some countries require the fulfilment of some additional conditions for applications to be presented. In particular, they may consist of a number of signatures.
- All signatures must be checked. In order to facilitate checking, lists of signatures should preferably contain the names of electors registered in the same municipality.
- An invalid signature should not invalidate other signatures or the signature list.
- A credible process of signature verification would include the verification of all signatures submitted up to the point when the minimum number of verified signatures required for registration has been reached. Once the minimum number of signatures has been established, the political party or candidate should be registered.
- Everyone enjoying electoral rights is entitled to sign a popular initiative or request for a referendum.
- Everyone enjoying electoral rights must be entitled to collect signatures. This right may be extended to other categories of people.
- When parties are required to show minimum levels of support, they should be given adequate time to collect and submit signatures. It is good practice that the number of required signatures does not exceed one per cent of the total number of registered voters in a constituency.
- Where the legal framework provides for the collection of signatures, it should provide for a reasonable amount of time for collection of signatures.
- The system for the verification of signatures should be clearly defined in law and not overly technical, so as to avoid the possibility of abuse. In particular, a requirement that a citizen be allowed to sign in support of only one party should be avoided, as such a regulation would affect his/her right to freedom of association and could easily disqualify parties despite their attempts in good faith to fulfil this requirement.