Special voting procedures must provide the necessary security and transparency to the voting process.
- Postal voting and proxy voting are permitted in countries throughout the western world, but the pattern varies considerably. Postal voting, for instance, may be widespread in one country and prohibited in another owing to the danger of fraud. It should be allowed only if the postal service is secure – in other words, safe from intentional interference – and reliable, in the sense that it functions properly. Proxy voting is permissible only if subject to very strict rules, again in order to prevent fraud; the number of proxies held by any one elector must be limited.
- [V]oters should always have the possibility of voting in a polling station. Other means of voting are acceptable under the following conditions: iii. postal voting should be allowed only where the postal service is safe and reliable; the right to vote using postal votes may be confined to people who are in hospital or imprisoned or to persons with reduced mobility or to electors residing abroad; fraud and intimidation must not be possible.
- Voters should always have the possibility of voting in a polling station; other means of voting are, however, acceptable on certain conditions, as indicated below.
- Special voting materials and procedures must be designed and operated in a way that provides the necessary security, as well as for sufficient transparency of the voting process, return of ballots, and counting.
- Opportunities for access to polling stations may be undermined where there is overcrowding or a failure to inform voters of their designated polling station.