Electoral Training synopsis
October 18, 2011
Gender & Elections synopsis
October 18, 2011

With the spread of democracy throughout the world and the steady stream of economic migrants and refugees escaping regional or national conflicts, there has been a growing demand for the enfranchisement of “external voters.” A growing number of technological solutions to the numerous challenges to external voting have made this type of voting an increasingly feasible, although still expensive option for EMBs. In addition to the technical challenges to external voting (voter registration, ballot distribution, voter information, voting and counting, to name a few), many countries have debated the legal basis of external voting and others question the level of resources that governments should be expending in order to enfranchise external voters. Where external voting does occur there is often a lack of technical capacity, resources and effective planning procedures to make it happen.

This module explores some of the challenges faced by EMBS organizing external voting. By doing so, it is hoped that election administrators will have realistic expectations of the results, cost, demands and relative advantages and disadvantages of external voting programs. Activities of the module will help participants develop a list of franchise criteria, while considering the extent to which the principal of universal franchise can be extended to external voters. Participants will be able to identify key stakeholders that need to be consulted when organizing voting in a foreign country, as well as listing the standards and principles on which external voting should be based. By considering different electoral systems, participants will be able to explain the impact of different electoral systems on external voting and the range of possible voting options.  Finally, the activities will enable participants to list potential approaches to voter registration and develop an overall operational plan for external voting.

The subjects covered in this module include:

  • Guiding Principles. The principles of universal franchise are compared to realistic scenarios in order to determine whether they apply to external voters, while considering their practical implications. Consideration is given to the context of external voters, such as the status of their residency, the reason for them living abroad and the type of election (local, regional, national, etc.)
  • Implementation of External Voting. A number of case studies are considered in order to understand the impact of different electoral systems of external voting. The module concludes with a planning exercise which enables participants to detail a list of tasks relating to planning, regulations, voter registration, logistics and political considerations. Special consideration is given to post-conflict scenarios.

As with other BRIDGE modules, practical considerations are given to program design and implementation such as methods of monitoring and evaluation and the development of timelines and detailed plans.

The module makes use of a number of interactive approaches such as role-playing, group work, games, product design and problems solving scenarios. Successful presentation will require full involvement of the participants in a number of culturally appropriate activities. The module is an excellent resource for EMB planners, managers and developers of policies and procedures.

 

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