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Fundamentals Strategic Planning and Implementation Measuring and Evaluating Impact Maintaining Credibility and Impartiality Coordination and

Coalition Building Security Organizational Development Encouraging Participation of Women, Youth and Minorities Organizational Structure Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) Long Term Observer (LTO) Organization Voter Education by Monitoring Organization Fundraising and Finance Management Recruitment and Training Observer Codes of Conduct Developing Forms Observer Deployment Observation Reporting Strategy Databases External Relations External Relations and Media Strategy Preparing Statements, Reports and Other Releases Advocating for Improvements and Needed Electoral Reforms Pre-Election Monitoring Minority Participation/Barriers Monitoring Analyzing the Legal Framework for Elections Creation/Operation of EMB Monitoring Boundary Delimitation Monitoring Party Registration/Ballot Qualification Monitoring Voter Registration Monitoring and Voter List Audits Voter Education Monitoring Media Monitoring Political and Campaign Finance Monitoring Monitoring Use of Government Resources for Electoral Advantage Campaign and Political Environment Monitoring Violence Monitoring and Mitigation Election Day Monitoring Electronic Voting Monitoring Election Day Observation Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Post-Election Monitoring Resolution of Complaints Monitoring the Post-Election Environment

Overview Modern constitutions and international human rights instruments recognize that the authority of government derives from the will of citizens expressed in genuine, periodic elections. Put simply, sovereignty resides in the people of a country, and elections therefore belong to the people. Governments have an obligation to their citizens to organize honest and accurate elections, and the people have a direct interest and a right to know that the election process both allows and honors their free political choice. Underpinning this is the right of citizens to participate in government and public affairs, which is a broad right that, among other things, can be exercised directly by seeking elected office and indirectly by voting. Intertwined with this is the people’s right to freedom of expression, which includes the right of citizens to seek, receive and impart information in order to know that their rights as electoral contestants and voters are being respected and the election process is trustworthy. Citizens therefore have a right to associate and monitor all elements of the electoral process, and the authorities have an obligation to provide “transparency”, including an opportunity without unreasonable restrictions for citizen monitoring to take place. This is in addition to allowing electoral contestants and their representatives, as well as new media, to monitor electoral processes. Nonpartisan election monitoring by citizen groups is a specialized form of human rights defending, because it is both an exercise of fundamental rights and an effort at promoting and safeguarding civil and political rights in the electoral context. Nonpartisan election monitors make a special pledge to their fellow citizens when they tell other citizens that they can trust their findings as one important basis for giving or denying authority to government. This imposes an ethical obligation to establish and maintain the highest degree of impartiality, accuracy and effectiveness in election monitoring activities, which encompasses: striving to employ the best methodologies and techniques that suit national conditions; being accountable for maintaining standards; and providing transparency in their monitoring efforts. Election monitoring also requires comprehensive and systematic approaches that start well before and stretch far beyond Election Day, and it embraces citizen participation, advocacy for electoral and governmental integrity, as well as striving for political and governmental accountability. The skills, organizational networks and relationships developed through nonpartisan election monitoring have allowed many organizations and coalitions to sustain and improve the impact of their activities over several election cycles and have allowed election monitoring organizations to engage effectively in promoting electoral and broader political and governmental reforms. Fundamentals Strategic Planning and Implementation Strategic planning is the keystone for effective election monitoring; without it, the effort may collapse, goals may not be met and, at a minimum, impact is likely to fall short of what is needed. Strategic planning requires taking a long-term view, including, among other things:

analyzing needs and impediments for furthering electoral integrity and related governmental and political accountability;

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focusing on the needs and impediments that monitoring efforts should seek to address, including issues and entities to target; analyzing the resources that should be mobilized (human and financial, as well as potential allies in marshalling resources); developing effective public relations capacities to reach citizens, electoral contestants, election and other government officials and news services through various communication technologies; assessing security factors that might affect how or whether monitoring should be conducted; identifying skills, techniques and networks that should be developed in order to achieve monitoring goals and objectives; envisioning how building and maintaining such skills and networks will advance citizen empowerment and democratic governance beyond elections; and developing the means to measure the impact of monitoring efforts.

Determining what must be done to establish and maintain impartiality – and public confidence that the monitoring effort is impartial – is a critical part of strategic planning, as is determining what must be done to ensure monitoring effectiveness. This element of the monitoring effort must be included in the development of goals, objectives, specific programmatic activities and impact evaluation. It is deeper than but includes “public relations” and communications planning. Building appropriate linkages with other monitoring organizations to facilitate cooperation, coordination and potential coalitions is part of strategic planning, as is building relationships with the political competitors and governmental bodies that may be monitored or that need to understand and cooperate with monitors. Analyzing the roles and potential contributions of international actors, including international election observation missions, media, embassies and assistance agencies need to be addressed as part of strategic planning. Measuring and Evaluating Impact Measuring and evaluating the impact of nonpartisan election monitoring activities is essential to:
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assessing the value of monitoring efforts; determining which practices produced desired effects; identifying the best practices to concentrate upon in the future; deciding whether certain activities might have more impact if modified; and determining whether some activities should be de-emphasized or abandoned because they produced little effect or unintended negative consequences.

It is difficult to evaluate some of the most important effects of nonpartisan election monitoring by citizens, such as its deterrent effects on fraud, its effects on public confidence in electoral and political processes and its role in mitigating potentials for politically motivated violence, though it is possible to identify factors that indicate such things. It is also possible to track numbers of persons involved in activities and the percentages of women, youth and people from other traditionally marginalized populations who take part in them. One of the significant evaluation activities to undertake is tracking the recommendations made by nonpartisan election monitors, which electoral stakeholders were asked to take actions, what actions, if any, they took in response to a recommendation and what remains to be done to produce the improvement sought. This not only allows impact to

be measured, it can serve as a “score card” on the relevant stakeholder and encourage accountability. Maintaining Credibility and Impartiality Maintaining credibility and impartiality – and public confidence that the election monitoring effort is impartial and credible – must be part of external relations objectives. Achieving the objectives depends first on internal planning, actions, vigilance and critical evaluation. Organizational structure must ensure public confidence in the effort’s impartiality and credibility, starting with the composition of the effort’s governing body and leaders. A mission statement, declaration of principles, a code of conduct and pledge signed by everyone involved in the effort – a means to evaluate the performance of participants and to review complaints about them – as well a method to seek opinions of key actors and analyze media coverage on these points, all should be part of organizational planning and action. Establishing and maintaining a reputation for credibility and impartiality must include engaging with relevant governmental entities – such as the election commission and other bodies directly and indirectly involved in the election process – the electoral competitors, news media and other relevant actors. These entities should know of the effort’s leaders and understand the election monitoring effort’s goals, principles, methodologies and procedures put in place to safeguard monitoring credibility and impartiality. This is a type of transparency and an invitation by election monitors to be held accountable. Regular communications are needed with all interested actors, including with the press. Public events, such as roundtables, forums and press conferences, can play important roles. Appointing a public relations officer, with appropriate responsibilities, and establishing public spokespersons and specific liaison persons for election commissions, political parties and other entities are important as well. Developing consistent messages and maintaining established procedures for public relations is also important, as is using various new and traditional communications technologies to reach the public. Coordination and Coalition Building Domestic election observation is often conducted by more than one organization in a country, either based on a division of labor or parallel activities. For example:
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One group might specialize in media monitoring and place it in the context of freedom of expression as well as electoral integrity. A group might concentrate on monitoring the conduct of electoral complaints and prosecutions for electoral related crimes, while another might specialize in monitoring the conduct of police and security forces in the electoral context. These activities relate more to rule of law issues. Another group might concentrate on monitoring factors that relate to potentials for electoral violence and actions that mitigate such potentials.

In such situations, it is best if a division of labor is worked out based on preexisting activities or interests, while information sharing is made a central focus. In other circumstances, one group or coalition may take on the entire electoral process or a large range of election monitoring activities, with an established internal division of labor. In other settings, more than one organization may conduct the same monitoring activity, which leads to multiple reports.

While, generally, it is best if duplication of monitoring is avoided, particularly where civil society organization is weak and/or high risks of politically motivated violence makes the environment fragile. Nonetheless, duplication will sometimes take place. Then, it is essential to reduce potentials for conflicting findings. This can be accomplished by agreeing in advance on criteria for monitoring, understanding each other’s methodologies and comparing findings before reports are issued. It is also important to discuss deployment plans to reduce overlap where feasible. It is vital for various groups to come together well in advance of the immediate election period to establish agreements about these matters in order to maximize impact, minimize duplication and intra-group tensions and to ensure a more rational approach to seeking funds for monitoring efforts. Negotiations among groups and coalition building, therefore, are integral elements of election monitoring. Such negotiations, including in coalition building, require each group to have a clear understanding of its immediate and longer-term goals, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the pressing needs for achieving electoral and political integrity, the strengths and desires of other groups and the views of potential funders. In short, negotiations among groups require careful strategic planning, appreciation of what others can do and willingness to compromise in order to maximize collective contributions to advancing democratic governance. Security Security is an important consideration for any monitoring organization, even if the environment it works in appears to be peaceful and free from intimidation. All organizations should take steps to ensure that sensitive information – including information about individual observers and data received through observation – is secure. Private information about observers, such as name, email, home address or phone number, could be used by those outside an organization for malicious purposes, such as solicitation or intimidation. Therefore, private information of observers should not be shared without the consent of the observer, unless required by law for the purpose of accreditation. Data collected by observers and compiled at headquarters should also be secured to prevent access or destruction by unauthorized individuals. Highly sensitive information, such as parallel vote tabulation data, will require an organization to set levels of access within the organization. Electronic safeguards on databases and other measures can be adopted to protect sensitive information and data. In environments where organizations or individual observers are threatened with intimidation or physical harm, special security measures may need to be adopted. The board of the organization should consider all threats to the organization and observers and should adopt policies and procedures as necessary. These procedures should be clearly communicated through training materials or other means to ensure that all supervisors and observers understand the measures in place. Lines of communication should remain open between observers, supervisors and headquarters, and all incidents should be reported immediately to headquarters and, if appropriate, the police or the media. Organizational Development Encouraging Participation of Women, Youth and Minorities Election monitoring is premised on promoting universal and equal suffrage, which flows from the human rights norm against discrimination. To be effective and credible, election

monitoring efforts must reflect these same principles in their organization. Women, youth, and other traditionally marginalized populations are needed in election monitoring efforts. Their presence is essential in order to understand the nature of the challenges to exercising political rights and to effectively reach and mobilize citizens. Beyond the threshold levels of participation, leadership from these sectors of society is needed to ensure full understanding and mobilization of the best talent available for election monitoring. It should be noted that youth include young women and girls from every politically marginalized group, just as women proportionately include minorities and young women in their ranks. Youth and women traditionally make up large numbers of election monitors and play leadership roles in election monitoring efforts. In addition to recruiting women, youth and citizens from other politically marginalized populations – and drawing leaders from among them – election monitoring organizations should also track their numbers as part of monitoring impact evaluation. This can help set useful examples when advocating for respecting equal and universal suffrage and nondiscrimination in electoral processes and governance. Organizational Structure A domestic monitoring effort should have a clear and well defined organizational structure. An efficient organizational structure will facilitate all of the activities of the monitoring effort, from recruiting volunteers to transmitting observer reports and communicating findings to the public. The organizational structure should specify:
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the number of layers or levels of organization required (e.g., board of directors, headquarters, regional and local units); the division of labor (e.g., executive functions, external relations, technical roles, including legal experts, statisticians and ICT specialists, volunteer coordination, financial integrity) the number of people within each layer or function; the programmatic responsibilities of each layer and function (e.g., “job descriptions,” the geographic coverage); and the relationship between units in different layers.

A diagram of the structure should be produced and a “terms of reference” (TOR) should be drafted for each organizational layer and unit. In general, the organizational structure should be pyramid-shaped and based on geographic considerations and nature of functions. In many cases, the organizational structure is established over time with different layers or functions phased in during the course of the electoral process. When an observation effort is mounted by a network or coalition of groups, the structure should also make clear the responsibilities of each member organization. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) As the goals and objectives are set and the organizational structure is being developed for the overall nonpartisan election monitoring effort, attention should be paid to the roles of and needs for various information communications technologies (ICTs). This should include how specific ICTs can improve speed, accuracy and impact, as well as their limitations, the constraints on their use due to local conditions and their cost. For example:

Mobile phone and related ICTs can allow trained monitors to rapidly report observations using standardized forms and numeric sequences sent through short message services (SMS) and similar technologies; Untrained citizens can report problems or incidents in electoral matters by calling or SMS or other ICTs to “hotlines” that respond, analyze or automatically post reports on the Internet; and Information received also can be displayed by various means on the Internet after analysis, including on maps, and relevant official data (such as voter registration, historic voting patterns and incidence of politically motivated violence) can be mapped and displayed to aid understanding of “hot spots” or other problem areas.

ICTs also allow monitoring organizations to send out messages rapidly to monitors and others, and they can allow hotlines to immediately respond to certain types of contacts with information about how to remedy problems, like seeking to correct an incorrect voter list entry. ICTs also can be important in informing the public, traditional and new media, and electoral stakeholders about monitoring findings. Long Term Observer (LTO) Organization In addition to election day, monitoring organizations may decide to observe aspects of the election process both before and after election day. Many organizations find, however, that it is difficult to collect meaningful and complete information on the entire pre-election and post-election periods. In an effort to make long term observation more efficient and focused, groups often decide to observe specific processes in the pre-election period, such as campaign monitoring or media monitoring, and/or the post-election period, such as complaints monitoring. When planning for long term observation, organizations should consider:
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which processes are important in the election; which processes will be observed by coalition members or other credible monitoring organizations; what is possible given the legal and practical timeline for the election; what is possible given the organization’s structure and resources; and how such activities would fit into the organization’s broader strategic plan.

Long term observation should draw upon the existing organizational structure and feed into the planned structure for election day observation, if applicable. Some long-term observation activities (such as monitoring the legal framework or monitoring the national media) can be conducted at a national level, while other activities (such as violence monitoring or campaign monitoring) must be conducted on the local level. Where local observation is needed, it is important to maintain regional representation, though organizations may only require a small number of people per region – depending on the process being monitored. Generally, observers should only be asked to monitor within their home area because detailed observation of long term processes requires continuous on-theground presence, and long term deployment of observers can be costly. Organizations should engage district and/or regional supervisors to serve as long term observers and should recruit others at the local level if needed. Voter Education by Monitoring Organizations In some instances, domestic monitoring organizations may carry out voter education exercises themselves. This typically occurs when the efforts of election management bodies,

government ministries, political parties and other civic organizations are insufficient to provide all eligible voters with pertinent information in a timely fashion (see Voter Education Monitoring). If a domestic monitoring effort is to conduct voter education activities, it should consider: what voter education activities is it best suited to undertake; how its voter education activities can be designed to complement its election monitoring effort; to what extent will voter education activities might take resources away from election monitoring; and how might involvement in voter education activities create a conflict of interest that could diminish the credibility of its monitoring activities. Fundraising and Finance Management All domestic monitoring efforts require financial resources. Likely costs include: staff, offices, volunteer recruitment and training, information and communications technologies (ICTs), deployment and publicity. The first step to finance management should be the development of a realistic, comprehensive budget for all of the costs of the entire monitoring effort, even if those costs are going to be covered by funds from different sources. Once a realistic budget has been created, resources need to be raised. These can come from a variety of sources, including: membership dues; sale of promotional materials; contributions from citizens; in-kind donations; and grants from donor organizations, foundations and corporations. At the same time, financial control mechanisms need to be established to ensure that funds are properly expended and that an account can be provided for all funds. Critically, detailed accounting procedures are needed for election day deployment, when large amounts of funds are likely to be spent in a very short period of time by many people distributed across a large area. Recruitment and Training Once an organizational structure has been designed for a domestic monitoring effort, individuals will need to be recruited and trained to fill these positions. In addition to a terms of reference (TOR) explaining what they are expected and authorized to do, each position should also have clearly defined qualifications. The management of many domestic monitoring efforts consists of paid, professional staff members, who are identified through a centralized hiring process. However, the hundreds or thousands of individuals who will serve as observers are typically volunteers recruited from across the entire country. In many cases, it is preferable to decentralize recruitment and to identify volunteers from places near to where they will observe. Around election day, volunteers may also be needed for the headquarters (or observation center) to help with logistics and/or to answer telephones. Where domestic monitoring is being done by a network or coalition of groups, every effort should be taken to recruit from within the member organizations. Training should be conducted for all members of the domestic monitoring effort on each element of the electoral process which is to be observed. This includes people who will conduct activities, such as data entry or activities by telephone from the headquarters, as well as monitoring activities around the country. Cascade training – which involves individuals from one layer of the organizational structure training the people in the layer beneath them – is often the most effective. This permits the training of large number of people in a relatively short period of time and gives members of the domestic monitoring effort ownership of the exercise. Trainings for all roles should always have an agenda and, as possible, employ experiential learning techniques, such as role plays or dramas. As part of any training, all participants should also be provided information on what it means to be non-partisan and independent and should sign and read aloud a pledge governing their conduct. Trainings

should also always cover the administrative and financial accounting aspects of the monitoring effort. Observer Codes of Conduct Along with the rights of nonpartisan election monitors come responsibilities. These responsibilities may be outlined in a code of conduct officially adopted by the monitoring organization. Codes of conduct are vital in encouraging a perception of professionalism and impartiality, as well as maintaining credibility with outside actors. The code also serves to remind individuals of the responsibilities they have as domestic monitors. In addition to the organizational leadership drafting and agreeing to a code of conduct, individual monitors should be responsible for reading (aloud if culturally appropriate) and signing a nonpartisanship pledge that demonstrates their understanding and adherence to principles laid out in the code of conduct. Typical issues covered in observer code of conduct include:
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the requirement of nonpartisanship (political impartiality) concerning all electoral contestants and referendum issues; adherence to nonviolence; non-interference in the election process or with voters; observation of the rule of law; cooperation with electoral authorities, electoral contestants and observers; and impartial, accurate and timely reporting.

The Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations contains a code of conduct and nonpartisan election monitoring pledge that embodies the principles and standards embraced by GNDEM. Developing Forms A monitoring organization should encourage the use of common forms (sometimes called “checklists”) to collect observation data. Forms should be short (typically one or two pages), capturing focused observation of the critical points that determine the credibility of the election process observed. They should not seek to capture information about extraneous matters, because this slows transmission of data and overly complicates analysis, which can undermine credibility. They therefore must be developed carefully in a collaborative effort of the organization’s leaders, legal specialists, trainers and communications specialists. Such observation forms are central to observer training (which sometimes is referred to as “training to the forms”) because they help to standardize observer responses, provide a guide for observers on what to look for, allow for quick and easy reporting and facilitate data entry and analysis. The design of observer forms is critical to the success of any data collection system and the observation as a whole. The observer form should be designed with the data processing method in mind, as well as the monitoring group’s objectives for reporting after election day. Its format should facilitate the transmission and processing of the information, whether by traditional means or by rapid information communication technologies (ICTs). This means that forms should be visually clear and easy for the observer to fill out. In addition to the standard observer form, monitoring organizations should develop a separate “critical incident form” to quickly transmit urgent information.

Observer Deployment Domestic election monitoring involves deploying monitors to observe different aspects of an electoral process. In some cases, deployment only requires a small number of people in a central location, such as assigning an expert to review the election law or voter education materials. In other cases, such as during voter registration or on election day, deployment may include hundreds or thousands of volunteers across an entire country. For every element of an electoral process being monitored, a detailed and clear deployment plan should be developed. This plan should include: how many people are being deployed; what kind(s) of people are being deployed; where they are being deployed and when they are being deployed. A deployment strategy can be: comprehensive; convenient; strategic; representative or some mix of these approaches. Prior to deployment, observers typically need: a terms of reference (TOR) explaining their responsibilities, training that covers what and how to observe, as well as how and when to report and code of conduct and nonpartisan pledge; and materials (such as an identification badge, pen, manual and checklist for monitoring on election day and a t-shirt, hat or other means of easily allowing the public to know they are observers). In some cases, observers may also need resources for transportation and communications. Observation Reporting Strategy An efficient communications system is at the heart of any successful election monitoring effort, because the quality and accuracy of observation statements rely on the data that are collected by observers around the country. An organizational structure must be put in place to coordinate observers, answer questions and collect in a timely and efficient manner reports on the process being monitored. Only with a well-planned and well-executed system will the information collected by observers across the country be reflected in the statements and reports of the election monitoring organization, whether on election day or during the pre- or post-election period. Reporting systems should embrace the best practices that are suited to national and local conditions, and they require back-up plans for conveying reports, as well as a method to retrieve missing critical reports. For example, using mobile phones and a short message system (SMS) feeding directly into a computer may be a reliable method in some places, while not in others. Plans for using land telephone lines, fax machines and physically moving forms will often be needed as a back-up, if not as the primary approach. In addition, particularly where statistical methods are employed in monitoring, there must be a system to contact monitors to retrieve missing reports and to resolve questions about the reliability of specific reports. Converting findings from observer forms into an electronic format, such as a computer database, is an effective way to manage a large amount of information. Whether SMS feeds into the database or reports are scanned or taken by telephone operators and then entered or other means, security protocols must be employed to safeguard against mistakes, unreliable reports or external attempts to tamper with or disrupt the system. The design of the system will have to take many factors into account including the size of the country, quality of infrastructure, number of observers and the deployment plan. While data collection is often associated with election day observation, it is just as necessary for pre-election observation and reporting.

Databases All incoming information from observers needs to be stored and organized in one central space. A computerized database is often the most efficient tool for managing this information, as it can be easily analyzed and updated by the observer group leadership and staff. If there are several parallel databases, there is a risk that some information may get lost, data may be repeated or parts may be corrupted. A computer server or web-enabled network can allow a number of operators to simultaneously enter data into the same database. When possible, it is useful to use the same database system for processing findings of pre-election monitoring so that staff members become accustomed to using it prior to election day and in post-election monitoring. Depending on the context and local conditions, a number of methods can be used to ensure that observation data are consistently entered into the database, including through manual entry, scanning, or the use of SMS to send information directly into a database. Security protocols are required to safeguard against double and mistaken entries as well as malfeasance, and it is best if the database is insulated from external contacts. After data are entered, the database should be able to process it quickly to identify missing reports and reports with questionable reliability so that timely follow-up is possible. The database should also allow the information analyzed to be presented in various forms, including charts, graphs and maps. This is useful for analysis and presentation of findings in statements, slides at press conferences and presentations and for posting on the Internet. Access to the process data must be restricted to trusted administrators and specified monitoring leaders to ensure that partial or inaccurate reports do not negatively affect the electoral environment or damage the credibility of the organization. Certain types of reports may appropriately be released in partial form and even automatically posted as maps or otherwise on the Internet, and the database’s ability to interface or easily export data to other ICTs is important. External Relations External Relations and Media Strategy A strategy for external relations, including with electoral management bodies (EMBs), other governmental aithorities, electoral contestants, the international community and the media, is a critical component of every domestic nonpartisan election monitoring effort. In most cases, an active media strategy helps raise awareness about the domestic monitoring effort, attracts volunteers and addresses any public skepticism leveled at the initiative. It also is an important part of demonstrating transparency in the monitoring effort, which should include inviting media and electoral stakeholders to meet and discuss the monitoring approaches being used. Some groups are hesitant to publicize their activities, particularly in restrictive or polarized environments. However, a group’s credibility is generally enhanced when it communicates actively with election officials, candidates and citizens. Media campaigns are most effective when they:
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develop consistent messages and stay “on message”; establish standard procedures for who is to interact with the media; use a variety of publicity techniques; and present useful, accurate and impartial information in a timely manner.

Most groups do not have the resources to rely primarily on paid media exposure and need to create opportunities for free or low-cost publicity (“earned media”). Some publicity techniques include: press releases; high-profile events; press conferences; articles and letters to the editor; and public service announcements. Increasingly, nonpartisan election monitoring efforts must take advantage of opportunities presented by using ICTs and “new media” to post material on websites (including maps of incidents reported by trained monitors and in some cases directly by citizens), use blogs to communicate messages, post video on YouTube and attract attention through short messages on “Twitter” and other tools. Social media, such as Facebook and similar tools, are also increasingly important to external relations. Preparing Statements, Reports and Other Releases Most observer groups release several different press communiqués, statements and reports over the course of their election monitoring effort. Issuing accurate, impartial and timely observation findings is essential to every successful monitoring activity, and can help mitigate public uncertainty that often results from rumors and incomplete or inaccurate information on election-day as well as in the pre- and post-election periods. Domestic monitors’ efforts to collect and report accurately and impartially on issues that are central to assessing the character of an election process can help significantly to combat ambiguity and enhance prospects for a peaceful election. Observation statements may also contribute to the acceptance of legitimate election results or, in the case of a fraudulent or significantly flawed process, help set the course for appropriate remedial actions. Nonpartisan election monitoring organizations must set up systems to ensure the issuance of timely, accurate and impartial findings. The leadership must develop a team that knows how to analyze monitoring reports and draw out appropriate findings. This requires knowledge of critical benchmarks set by domestic law and international obligations and an ability to apply them to systematic observations by monitors in order to produce accurate, fact-based findings. This knowledge is also essential to formulating appropriate recommendations for improving electoral processes. The leadership must select in advance strong writers and effective spokespersons, as well as trusted ICT specialists, to develop and present findings through a variety of media. Such teams need to work in advance to consider various scenarios and how they would make statements about them, so that they have developed their skills and working relationships before the urgency of actual monitoring days arrive. Advocating for Improvements and Needed Electoral Reforms Nonpartisan election monitoring by citizen organizations does not stop with the issuance of findings and recommendations. Whether pre-election processes, election day procedures or post-election developments are observed, citizen organizations typically offer recommendations and should follow up to advocate for their adoption, as well as monitor and report on whether the electoral stakeholder to whom each recommendation was addressed takes action on it and what further action may still be required to improve the electoral process concerning that matter. These activities illustrate the interrelationships among monitoring, advocacy and creating accountability, all of which are elements of citizen participation in public affairs through election monitoring. Pre-Election Monitoring Minority Participation/Barriers Monitoring Genuine elections are premised on universal and equal suffrage, and human rights norms

prohibit discrimination based, among other things, on race, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin or other status, such as disabilities or sexual orientation, in exercising civil and political rights. Governments are required by constitutions, as well as by international human rights obligations, to provide an opportunity without unreasonable restrictions to excise election related rights and to provide an effective remedy where violations of rights occur. Therefore, identifying, monitoring and advocating for removal of barriers to participation – including barriers that affect participation of women, youth and other populations that are traditionally politically marginalized – is a critical part of election monitoring and promoting electoral integrity. Barriers to participation can occur in core elements of election processes, such as: drawing election boundaries to divide and disenfranchise minorities; placing discriminatory requirements on citizenship, candidate qualification and/or voter registration; and employing political intimidation and violence. Less direct elements can also present barriers to participation of underrepresented groups, such as requirements for presentation of certain types of identification or proof of birth date, place of residence and citizenship. Non-use of local and minority languages for voter and civic education and/or for candidate messages on state controlled media also can have an important discriminatory impact. Early and systematic monitoring – employing appropriate techniques and impartial monitors who can reach the affected populations – are important to effective monitoring. This ties to involvement of women, youth and people from other politically marginalized populations as monitors and monitoring leaders. Formulating recommendations, following their implementation and monitoring for provision of effective remedies are also central to addressing barriers to exercising the right to participate in government through genuine elections. Analyzing the Legal Framework for Elections The legal framework that governs an election – from the constitution, to the election law and laws affecting electoral developments related to political parties, candidates, electoral and political finance, voter eligibility requirements (including citizenship), drawing electoral districts (including census issues), media, NGOs and even criminal laws related to electoral developments, to electoral regulations and official codes of conducts, and even treaty obligations – all can encourage or hamper the potentials for a genuinely democratic electoral process. Civil society organizations, including election monitoring organizations, play particularly important roles in analyzing legal frameworks for elections, offering recommendations for improving them and monitoring the processes surrounding the adoption and implementation of laws. Nonpartisan election monitoring organizations that plan to analyze or monitor the legal framework for elections should develop expert groups familiar with the legal process of the country and with general principles for democratic elections. These experts can analyze the legal framework, while volunteers can monitor the implementation of the law through other observation activities on the ground. Additionally, legal experts may advise the organization how to assist citizens in filing legal complaints – should that be appropriate in the country’s circumstances. The experts may also assist in determining how to properly approach the election commission, and legislature to advocate for changes to the legal framework. Creation/Operation of EMB Monitoring An election management body (EMB) – such as the election commission – plays a crucial

role in elections as the lead administrative agency, and sometimes it plays a quasi-legislative role in promulgating regulations and other elector rules and/or a quasi-judicial role in passing judgment on electoral complaints. EMBs must be politically impartial and administratively competent at all levels, and they must be viewed as both by the electoral contestants and the public. The government of a country should provide EMBs with the independence and the resources needed to efficiently execute their duties. Observation of EMBs may occur on several levels. Monitoring organizations can review the structure and implementation of the legal framework in the creation and functioning of the EMBs at the national and other administrative levels. This requires engaging constructively with EMBs and not hindering their work, while observing a significant range of election management activities. Analysts should also review as objectively as possible whether or not the EMBs are considered by electoral contestants and the public to be credible and impartial and whether or not their decisions are made and carried out in a transparent manner. Monitoring organizations should also consider whether or not the government provides the EMB sufficient financial resources in a timely manner and without political interference, and whether there is appropriate legislative oversight of electoral administration and the executive branch’s interaction with it. At the local level, the EMB’s effectiveness and impartiality should be measured through an organization’s observation of various election processes including, but not limited to: voter registration; candidate and party ballot qualification; development and secure distribution of sensitive electoral materials; election day conduct and election complaints resolution. If it is in the mandate of the EMB, observers of the campaign period should track whether or not the EMB actively enforces regulations on campaigning or financing and whether or not it pursues violators vigorously and impartially. In the post election period, observers should note if the EMB responds to allegations of fraud against its own officials by investigating and, if appropriate, removing and punishing those responsible for malfeasance. Boundary Delimitation Monitoring The delimitation of electoral boundaries – or “districting” – is the process of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts and determining their size, shape and overall number. Electoral boundaries directly impact the ratio of citizens to elected representatives and thus are central to whether equal suffrage is achieved, Boundaries also are central in determining whether nondiscrimination requirements are met concerning minority populations and whether political discrimination is exercised by unfairly dividing electoral support to deprive certain political parties of a reasonable chance to win seats. The process of drawing electoral boundaries can be complex and time consuming. Therefore, monitoring the process can also be highly technical and require specific knowledge and resources not used in other types of monitoring. For example, such a monitoring effort may require a computer program to evaluate “compactness,” one measure of fairness in boundary delimitation. Boundary delimitation monitoring should consider a number of factors, including:

whether the body responsible for drawing the boundaries is impartial, competent to the task and sufficiently resourced, including having enough time to complete the task properly; whether the process for determining boundary criteria is transparent and appropriately politically inclusive to political competitors and allow appropriate public input;

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whether the boundary criteria are clearly defined, fair and logical; whether the ratio of citizens to representatives meets criteria for equal suffrage; whether minority groups populations are fairly treated; whether boundaries unfairly discriminate against certain political parties; and whether there is recourse for those alleging violations to seek and receive remedies for their complaints.

It may be possible for nonpartisan election monitoring organizations to seek information related to boundary delimitation issues and to make it and related information, such as census data, available to the public, along with analysis and recommendations. Such information also can be mapped in formats that allow citizens to develop their own suggestions on fair electoral boundaries. Party Registration/Ballot Qualification Monitoring Of paramount concern in the registration and legal recognition of political parties – and, separately, ensuring the inclusion of parties and candidates on the ballot – is the right to take part in public affairs and to be elected. This right lies at the root of determining whether an election provides a meaningful opportunity for candidates to present competing options and for voters to choose among them. Restrictions on who can form a party and who can compete in elections are considered acceptable if they do not present unreasonable restrictions or discriminate on bases proscribed by law or in international human rights obligations. Only certain types of limits have met this test, such as requiring that parties and candidates demonstrate popular support by submitting a reasonable number of signatures collected within a fair amount of time. Nonpartisan election monitors have observed procedures for verifying such signatures to ensure that requirements are enforced fairly. Financial deposits are also sometimes required as part of party and candidate qualification, which must not be so burdensome as to unreasonably restrict the right to seek to be elected. Electoral competitors sometimes seek to illegally block party and candidate ballot qualification through intimidation and other means. Nonpartisan organizations may monitor to identify for these developments and call on citizens to report such actions in addition to identifying arbitrary or discriminatory application of the law that unreasonably restrict registration and qualifying for the ballot. Voter Registration Monitoring and Voter List Audits Voter registration is vital to the public’s interest in establishing a government based upon the people’s will, and is also vital to those who seek to gain public office. A sound voter registration process identifies and accredits eligible voters and screens ineligible individuals out of the voting process. On a more tangible level, a specific goal of a successful voter registration process is to compile a voters list that is comprehensive, accurate and up to date. Nonpartisan election monitors therefore should monitor the process by which eligible voters are registered. The three basic approaches to creating the voter registry require different monitoring methodologies.

Where citizens must take the initiative to go to voter registration centers, monitors observe whether citizens received adequate notice, whether the hours and locations provided a genuine opportunity for all voters to register – including women, youth and other populations that are traditionally politically marginalized – and whether officials properly conducted the registration procedures.

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Where officials conduct a door-to-door enumeration of eligible voters, monitors observe to determine if the process provides a genuine opportunity to be included, based on the hours of enumeration, effort to return to homes where residents are not present and whether all areas receive equal attention. Where registration is accomplished by importing names of eligible voters from a civil registry or similar register, computer program checks may be most appropriate. Where electronic technologies are used to produce the voter registry and voter lists, monitoring of decisions to employ the technologies, costs of the technologies (apparent and less visible), the government contracting process involved, reliability and integrity of the technologies, knowhow transfer and sustainability of the technologies should be monitored.

The voter registry itself can be audited by running computer checks for over- or underrepresentation of segments of the population by age, gender or geographic locations, and the registry can be checked for duplicate entries and anomalies concerning names and numbers. In addition, statistical samples can be used to check the accuracy of entries on the list (“listto-people” verifications), and by sampling citizens and checking whether their information is accurately recorded in the registry (“people-to-lists” verifications). However voter lists are created, monitoring groups can encourage citizens to follow procedures to check the lists and seek corrections, while reporting problems to the monitoring organization. Such efforts can use hotlines, education campaigns and can map reports of problems with the voter lists. Voter Education Monitoring One measure of an election’s legitimacy is the degree to which the electorate is adequately informed about: voters’ rights and obligations; dates and procedures for voter registration and election day; the ranges of options from which voters can choose (whether policies of parties and candidates or positions on referendums); and the significance of those choices. The national election management body (EMB), government ministries, media, political parties and civic organizations all may play a role in voter education. The cumulative effect of all voter education in an election should be evaluated by the degree to which pertinent information is reasonably available to all eligible voters in a form they can comprehend and in a timely fashion. Monitoring may take the form of direct observation of voter education materials and activities. It may also involve indirect observation by analyzing the number of improperly cast ballots or by organizing focus groups and/or surveys to gauge the public’s knowledge about and understanding of elections. In order to determine impact, it is critical that public opinion data be collected both before and after all voter education efforts. Media Monitoring Democracy depends on all contesting points of view being fairly and equitably communicated so that the people may make informed choices. There cannot be meaningful and vigorous debate of fundamental issues facing a country without a vehicle for widely expressing views; the news media provide that vehicle in many instances. Media monitoring has become a significant activity for domestic monitoring organizations. It can play an important role in pressing for: the elimination of censorship; more equitable distribution of media access for political contestants; fair news coverage of contestants and election issues; and adequate voter education through the media. There are four principle aspects to media monitoring. The first concerns monitoring how the government acts to ensure the news media's right to gather and impart information and ideas. The second aspect concerns how the government and the news media act to provide access to

political parties and candidates so that they may effectively communicate with the public during election campaign periods. The third aspect concerns how the government and the media act to ensure fair and objective coverage of political parties and candidates in news and information reporting. The fourth aspect concerns how the government and news media act to educate the electorate on how and why to vote. Increasingly, new communications media, which often employ the Internet to convey ideas through blogs, video and short messages or use mobile technologies, such as text messages, are playing important roles in the electoral context. One of the growing challenges for nonpartisan organizations is to devise reliable methods to monitor such media and their impact on electoral integrity. Political and Campaign Finance Monitoring Both the administrators and the competitors in an election need resources. Money is needed to: pay salaries; establish offices; purchase media time or space; produce campaign materials; provide transportation, communication and other campaign support; distribute voter education materials; and, where allowed, to mobilize voters to register and to vote. Other resources, such as labor, commodities or media access are equally valuable. Nonpartisan monitoring of campaign contributions and expenditures can help determine how the electoral process may be influenced by money, and if contestants may be using resources for unfair electoral advantage. Items that monitors examine include: the legal framework for financial disclosures; the completeness, accuracy and timeliness of financial reports; campaign finance oversight; the distribution of campaign resources by the government; or the use and abuse of state resources and services in the campaigns. Nonpartisan monitors also often track the amount of media time and space purchased by parties and candidates, ascertain the costs of such media time and space and compare the calculation to campaign spending regulations and expenditure reports. Monitoring Use of Government Resources for Electoral Advantage Government resources belong to all of the citizens and should not be used for private gain, including for the electoral advantage of certain political parties or electoral candidates. Those in governmental office have an advantage from their incumbency, because the populace sees them fulfilling their public duties, or they may fall into disfavor because the public perceives that they performed inadequately in office. Incumbents also have control over state resources, including offices, communications equipment, vehicles, staff and money, and may inappropriately use such resources to gain reelection. Such actions can undermine or destroy the credibility of elections. Nonpartisan election monitoring efforts should analyze the legal framework to ensure that it prohibits using governmental resources for electoral advantage, requires all government employees – including high office holders, security forces and the judiciary – to remain politically impartial towards all electoral contestants, and provides accountability mechanisms (including appropriate penalties) to deter and effectively address violations. Monitors can track electoral misuse of government vehicles, facilities, political discrimination in providing campaign permits and other abuses that are relatively visible. Monitoring efforts also can set up citizen hotlines and other means for them to report misuse of government resources for electoral advantage, including threats of job loss and other economic coercion, conditioning government services on pledges to vote for certain parties or candidates and similar activities. Monitoring government controlled and public media is another important way to address this issue.

Campaign and Political Environment Monitoring During the campaign period, partisanship is pervasive as each electoral contestant competes to ensure his or her own victory. Such partisanship often produces robust competition that is typical of a healthy democracy. Sometimes, however, the competition results in abuse and injustice which, in the pre-election period, may have a substantial or even decisive effect on the outcome of an election. A failure to define and enforce the parameters of competition can result in conduct that is contrary to a fair and genuine election. Nonpartisan domestic monitoring of the pre-election environment and campaign period can help identify prevalent issues of partisanship and highlight aspects that could have an impact on election day. Often, in order to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of an election process, monitors must assess whether the process has provided a “level playing field” and an opportunity for a genuine and/or meaningful expression of the will of the electorate. Violence Monitoring and Mitigation Intimidation, other forms of coercion and violence prior to election day, as well as threats of political retribution if voting by certain voting centers do not produce pre-determined results, can subvert free voting and negate the right to seek elected office. Politically motivated violence in the electoral context – before, during or after election day – can destabilize societies and foment widespread civil strive, possibly creating large scale conflict, particularly in countries with underlying vulnerabilities to conflict. Potentials for violence and wider conflict can be mitigated by nonpartisan election monitoring organizations that monitor and report in an impartial, accurate and timely manner on incidents that exacerbate potentials for violence as well as on incidents of political violence. Accurate, impartial and timely reports can dispel rumors that tend to increase potentials for additional violence, and they can help authorities to direct attention and resources to preventing further violence. Creating a public record of political violence can put pressure on perpetrators to follow the rule of law. Many domestic monitoring organizations have instituted a comprehensive approach to mitigating potentials for electoral related violence that involves voter education campaigns for violence free elections, community mobilization, citizen reporting hotlines, violence monitoring and creating community forums to encourage bridge building and community based reconciliation. This kind of activity often requires cooperative interaction with electoral and other government officials. Monitoring groups have utilized news bulletins other types of statements, roundtables, community forums and incident mapping to inform the public and stakeholders of examples and trends in electoral related violence and to mitigate potentials for it. Election Day Monitoring Electronic Voting Monitoring There is an increasing trend by election management bodies (EMBs) around the world to adopt more technologically advanced systems for election day polling. Electronic voting (sometimes known as “e-voting”) can help simplify and accelerate the process of voting, counting and tabulation and can offer greater options for people with disabilities. However, electronic voting poses extraordinary challenges and risks, because it often limits transparency in elections, making it more difficult for the public to know whether elections are genuine, somehow tainted or fraudulent. It therefore is critical that nonpartisan monitoring organizations play an active role in helping to ensure proper oversight and accountability so that the appropriate level of public confidence in the electoral process is established.

The introduction of electronic technologies is not a simple replacement of classic ballot boxes and ballot papers with electronic machines. The administration of elections with electronic voting is substantially different from elections with the paper ballot. It requires restructuring of the electoral administration in many critical aspects. The introduction of electronic voting creates an entirely new set of relations between the election administration, certification bodies, vendors and various state institutions. This means that observation of electronic voting must start well in advance of election day. Monitors should be prepared to observe all the critical aspects of the development and implementation of electronic voting, including:
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the policy debate surrounding the introduction of e-voting; the development of the legal framework; the development of requirements; certification and testing; production, delivery and maintenance; costs of employing the technology (both apparent and less visible); human resources and trainings; overall transparency; data security; recounts and challenges; and election day use.

Organizations will need to consider the internal capacity and skill sets they will need to observe these aspects and a realistic timeline for doing so. By the time monitors are planning their observation of polling, they should have a clear idea of any limits the observation will face concerning electronic equipment. Monitors also should consider whether other independent, impartial and more reliable mechanisms can be established to verify the integrity of electronic voting technologies, as has been done through the legal framework in some countries. Advocacy for including additional safeguards in the legal framework is an important element of monitoring electronic technologies (e.g., requiring a voter verified paper trail of each persons choice, treating such paper records as the best evidence of a voter’s choice, automatic audits of the performance of a significant percentage of electronic voting machines even if there are no challenges to electoral outcomes.) Election Day Observation The primary purpose of an independent monitoring operation is to guarantee the integrity of the electoral process. In addition to collecting valuable information regarding the quality of the polling day process, observers at polling stations help make voters feel safer about voting and can serve as a deterrent to help reduce threats, cheating or other voting wrongdoings. Moreover, when observers watch the counting process, they provide a fair source for verifying official results. Observation of polling day should address the full process, including collecting information on developments that could disenfranchise prospective voters, allow illegal voting, tamper with ballots or stuff ballot boxes, subvert secrecy of the vote, manipulate the count or distort tabulation of election results. Elements to observe include:
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the opening and closing of the polls; the presence of ballots and other critical voting materials; the environment inside and around the polling stations; the impartiality and general conduct of the voting station officials;

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the presence of political party representatives; the conditions for a free and secret vote; and the accuracy and transparency of the vote count and tabulation.

Observers collect information on election day primarily through their presence within a polling station. However, nonpartisan organizations may also deploy roving observers or supervisors to assess conditions outside of polling stations, track complaints filed, communicate with stakeholders and monitor updates in the media. In addition, monitoring efforts may also provide hotlines or other mechanisms for citizens to report election day incidents or problems that could affect electoral integrity, such as violence and intimidation, obstructions to movement, and vote buying. Monitoring organizations should determine their plans for election day deployment and reporting well in advance of election day. Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Parallel vote tabulations (PVTs), often known as “quick counts”, are an advanced observation technique that has been used for two decades by domestic monitoring groups, around the world to promote the integrity of elections and to detect when election results and/or electionday processes have been manipulated. During a PVT, well trained observers watch the voting and counting processes at specifically selected polling stations – based on a statistical sample – record key information on standardized forms and report their findings (including polling station’s turnout and vote count) to evaluate the overall quality of election-day processes and to project, or verify, official election results based on precise analysis of polling station data, typically within narrow margins of error. PVT methodology has become increasingly sophisticated over the last 20 years. A cornerstone of this methodology is its use of the science of statistics. Most PVTs today do not involve collecting information from every polling station; rather, data are gathered from a random, representative statistical sample of polling stations. In a PVT, nonpartisan monitors record and report their direct, eye-witness observations; this differs fundamentally from exit polls, which ask voters how they voted and do not witness the nature of proceedings inside a polling place. PVTs thus allow groups to rapidly assemble and report reliable data based on first-hand observation. PVTs also typically incorporate information communication technologies (ICTs) to securely transmit, store and analyze data to enable rapid and accurate analysis and issuance of timely reports on various processes at appropriate points during and immediately following the election day. PVTs should always be conducted as part of larger observation effort designed to monitor the entire electoral process. Data from the PVT is most valuable when interpreted in the context of the conduct of voting and counting on election day as well as all critical elements of the pre-election period (including qualification of candidates, the conduct of the campaign; accuracy of the voter registry and other factors that can reinforce or negate the credibility of the election). From this perspective a PVT is a component of a larger monitoring effort rather than a stand alone activity. Post-Election Monitoring Resolutions of Complaints Complaints may be raised by citizens or political competitors at multiple points during the election process, including, but not limited to: voter registration; candidate or party registration; the campaign period; election day voting and counting; and tabulation and

announcement of results. Complaints may be related to administrative issues or minor violations of election law, such as the size limit for a campaign poster. More serious complaints may relate to fundamental rights of voters or candidates, such as the denial of a candidate’s registration. In either case, it is essential that the complaints procedures are clear and easily accessed by citizens or competitors and that the process for deciding complaints is transparent. When dealing with fundamental rights, a citizen or electoral contestant should have the right to appeal a decision to an independent tribunal empowered to provide effective redress. Monitoring organizations may track complaints during any part of the electoral process as a part of their long term pre-election monitoring or election day monitoring. However, the complaints and appeals process can take on added significance after the elections, as political contestants may decide to challenge the results, either in a particular polling station or district, or at the national level. Observers should determine if complaints were officially lodged by electoral contestants and assess how many complaints were accepted and processed by electoral authorities at various levels and by the courts. If challenges following election day could materially affect the results of the elections, nonpartisan organizations should attempt to monitor complaint adjudication proceedings, including attending hearings. Specific complaints can be tracked and organized in a database, detailing the progress and outcome of each complaint. It is also important to follow how credible reports of electoral violations are investigated and addressed by the election administration and other authorities, and to determine whether or not those who violated electoral related laws are punished. This may require monitoring law enforcement actions and criminal court proceedings. Monitoring the Post-Election Environment A comprehensive monitoring effort extends beyond election day and considers the important issues that occur after voting and counting are completed. The post-election period includes a number of important procedures or events that have a real potential to impact the credibility and outcome of the electoral process. These include:
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tabulation of results; resolution of complaints; announcement of provisional and final results; and installation of election officials or implementation of successful referenda.

Monitors should follow these processes to document whether they are completed in accordance with the law and principles for genuine elections and are conducted in a transparent manner. It is also important to monitor the reaction to election results by the public, the government, political competitors and the media. Significant claims of systematic fraud should be considered and can be investigated by special teams within a monitoring organization. If the public protests the results of the elections, monitors should note whether fundamental freedoms of peaceful assembly, speech and movement are respected by the authorities and whether the actions of security forces exceed the acceptable limits of crowd control. Additionally, monitors should look for signs of retribution against the public for voting choices and against polling officials and other government employees involved in the election process. Violence monitoring following election day can address acts of retaliation by government or partisan forces. Observers may also monitor the media to ensure that post-

election events, including public demonstrations, election disputes and the transition of power from one government to another, are reported in a comprehensive and non-biased manner. Longer term monitoring should track how authorities, political parties, the legislature, EMBs, media and other actors respond to recommendations of nonpartisan citizen organizations and international observers for improving the electoral and broader political process. Nonpartisan monitoring organizations also need to consolidate their organizational structures and public support gained over the electoral period, evaluate the impact of their efforts, identify best practices and areas where corrective actions may be required, as well as to undertake planned activities to promote electoral integrity and advance democratic governance beyond electoral issues.