Highly enthusiastic with the previous experiences and the outcomes of BRIDGE workshops in Macedonia, the State Election Commission (SEC) gladly decided to use BRIDGE methodology in the mandatory training SEC is organizing and conducting for the members of the lower electoral management bodies.
In this manner, on 1 March 2013 SEC organized Polling, Counting & Results workshop for representatives of the Municipal Election Commissions (MECs). This workshop was conducted in Shtip, Macedonia, and was prepared and facilitated by Ljupka Guguchevska (SEC of Macedonia) as lead facilitator. Ljupka was supported by the speaker of honor – Mr. Sasho Srcev, member of SEC, who opened the workshop and encouraged the participants to keep working towards fair and democratic elections.
Anticipating the upcoming Local Elections scheduled for 24 March 2013, this workshop was an excellent opportunity for the participants to practice their skills in polling and counting from a different, more enjoyable and entertaining perspective. The participants were already experienced in accomplishing the MECs responsibilities in the Parliamentary Elections 2011, so this one-day workshop seemed to be sufficient for them to renew and upgrade their knowledge. The module activities were slightly customized due to Macedonian regulations and circumstances, and the participants experience as well.
During this fruitful day, we successfully managed to meet the workshop objectives, which were participants to reach understanding that:
• Thorough organisation is the key to an efficient polling day,
• Closing the poll is a critical moment that requires careful procedures and control means,
• Security should be an integral part of the election operational plan, and
• A quick, accurate and transparent count is critical for the legitimacy of the electoral process.
For most of the participants this was the first time to meet the BRIDGE methodology, except for the ones who were also participants at the Pre-Election Activities Workshop in December 2012.
We had a very positive feedback from every one of them, and they all highly rated both the BRIDGE methodology and the presented topics.
Besides receiving BRIDGE handouts translated in Macedonian, the participants also received the Training Manuals, written by the facilitator of this workshop, and published by the SEC. These Manuals are meant to support the participants of this workshop to transmit the knowledge they gained further to the members of the Electoral Boards who actually conduct the polling procedures.
At the end of the day all the participants, together with the facilitator, supported the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections by signing the initiative. This symbolic act once again proved the commitment of the Macedonian electoral administration towards free, fair, transparent, and democratic elections.