Candidates, party agents, and accredited observers should have access to polling stations.
- 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.
- 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.
- Candidates or political parties shall have the right to be represented at polling and counting stations by duly designated agents or representatives.
- [States should foster citizen participation in the electoral process by] guaranteeing that all possible means are used to make all polling stations accessible.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.