Candidates, party agents, and accredited observers should have access to polling stations.
- 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
- Observers were able to access places used for voting
- Election observers were able to observe the campaign process
- International observers were accredited and were able to access and comment on all parts of the electoral process
- Candidates or political parties shall have the right to be represented at polling and counting stations by duly designated agents or representatives.
- Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process by facilitating the deployment of representatives of political parties and individual candidates at polling and counting stations and by accrediting national and/other observers/monitors.
- The participating States consider that the presence of observers, both foreign and domestic, can enhance the electoral process for States in which elections are taking place.
- [States should foster citizen participation in the electoral process by] guaranteeing that all possible means are used to make all polling stations accessible.
- 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.
- Observation must not be confined to election day itself, but must include the referendum campaign and, where appropriate, the voter registration period and the signature collection period. It must make it possible to determine whether irregularities occurred before, during or after the vote. It must always be possible during vote counting.
- Observation of elections a. Both national and international observers should be given the widest possible opportunity to participate in an election observation exercise.
- 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.
- 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.
- Accredited agents of political parties and candidates, as well as accredited international and domestic observers, should be permitted to observe all polling activities.
- The vote counting should be conducted in a transparent manner. It is admissible that voters registered in the polling station may attend; the presence of national or international observers should be authorised. These persons must be allowed to be present in all circumstances. There must be enough copies of the record of the proceedings to distribute to ensure that all the aforementioned persons receive one; one copy must be immediately posted on the notice-board, another kept at the polling station and a third sent to the commission or competent higher authority.
- The law must be very clear as to what sites observers are not entitled to visit, so that their activities are not excessively hampered. For example, an act authorising observers to visit only sites where the election (or voting) takes place could be construed by certain polling stations in an unduly narrow manner
- 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.
- Observers should be given unimpeded access to all levels of election administration at all times, effective access to other public offices with relevance to the election process, and the ability to meet with all political formations, the media, civil society and voters. The law should provide clear and precise provisions establishing the rights of observers to inspect documents, attend meetings and observe election activities at all levels, as well as to obtain copies of decisions, protocols, tabulations, minutes and other electoral documents, at all levels.
- The legal framework must address a myriad of issues to ensure a genuine opportunity to exercise the right to vote on the basis of equal and universal suffrage. These issues concern conditions outside the polling sites, as well as inside it, before, during and after voting takes place. The provisions must ensure, among other things, that: ...Transparency mechanisms allow effective monitoring by political parties, candidates, groups supporting and opposing referenda and other ballot initiatives, domestic nonpartisan election monitors, news media and international election observers.
- Clear rules must be established for voting in polling stations, as well as other methods of voting, that include safeguards for secret balloting and that provide for monitoring by political contestants and election observers.
- Observers should be able to go everywhere where operations connected with the referendum are taking place (for example, vote counting and verification). The places where observers are not entitled to be present should be clearly specified by law, with the reasons for their being banned.
- Both national and international observers should be given the widest possible opportunity to participate in a referendum observation exercise.