Voter Information synopsis
October 18, 2011
BRIDGE in Beirut: Two Electoral Systems Workshops and Seven New Facilitators
October 20, 2011

Central to almost all electoral systems and their attendant processes is Voter Registration. Broadly speaking, Voter Registration is the process of verifying eligible and/or potential voters, and entering their names and other substantiating information on a voters list. However, the processes for collecting, storing and using this data varies greatly from one system to another. This Module examines the principles that underpin good Voter Registration and the administrative and logistical considerations that need to be taken into account when developing and implementing a Voter Registration system.

However, BRIDGE always strives to avoid prescribing any element of the electoral process. In an effort to treat electoral administrators as professionals, the project offers them the opportunities to look at the pros and cons of a particular element of electoral process. And so, this module begins with the question “Why have Voter Registration?” If the group decides that voter registration is necessary (and indeed, most participants are enrolled in the course because they feel it is) this module then systematically examines the subject of Voter Registration.

Firstly, the module examines potential principles that could guide those responsible for developing and administering Voter Registration systems. As an extension of this there is also the opportunity to examine and discuss potential Franchise criteria.

The BRIDGE partners believe that for any element of electoral process to be successful it must be appropriate to the context and it must be “owned” by those administering it. In light of this, several types of Voter Registration systems are presented to the participants and they are encouraged to explore the relative merits of each for their contexts.

Once a system (or combination of systems) has been agreed upon, the next part of the module explores approaches to administering that system. These can include but are not limited to such things as:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Periodic list, continuous list or civil registry?
  • Administrative framework
  • Registration data collection and management
  • Procurement
  • Operational infrastructure
  • Voter education specific to Voter Registration
  • Worker selection and training
  • Compiling registration data
  • Storing registration data
  • Production of a preliminary voters list
  • Challenges to the preliminary voters list
  • Production of a final voters list
  • Distribution of the final voters list
  • Evaluation of the process

Once a thorough examination of all of the above elements of Voter Registration systems is completed, the participants are then given the opportunity to work together to develop frameworks for a Voter Registration operational plan which can be taken with them back to their countries of origin and used as the basis for any Voter Registration planning tools they wish to utilise in helping them to administer the fairest, most accessible and effective Voter Registration processes for their contexts.

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