Legislation should give clear instructions on the role of the election commission in interpreting and administering the election law.
- Most election laws... allow for the supreme electoral administrative body, usually the Central Election Commission ("the CEC"), to issue instructions to further clarify issues related to the election process. However, electoral legislation should require that such instructions are directly based on provisions in the electoral legislation. The role of the CEC in connection with the issuing of detailed instructions should be clearly understood. The role of the CEC is not to act as a substitute legislator, but to respond to occurring needs for clarification by way of interpreting and supplementing the election regulations. Election legislation should create a balance that allows for the necessary flexibility of the CEC to respond to obvious needs, but yet not undermine the principle of legislative control over the election legislation.
- The electoral law should contain an article requiring the authorities (at every level) to meet the demands and needs of the electoral commission. Various ministries and other public administrative bodies, mayors and town hall staff may be directed to support the election administration by carrying out the administrative and logistical operations of preparing for and conducting the elections. They may have responsibility for preparing and distributing the electoral registers, ballot papers, ballot boxes, official stamps and other required material, as well as determining the arrangements for storage, distribution and security.
- The composition of the central electoral commission is certainly important, but no more so than its mode of operation. The commission’s rules of procedure must be clear, because commission chairpersons have a tendency to let members speak, which the latter are quick to exploit. The rules of procedure should provide for an agenda and a limited amount of speaking time for each member – e.g. a quarter of an hour; otherwise endless discussions are liable to obscure the main business of the day.