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Call for presentations - 'Conscious Voters in the Digital Age' - ACEEEO 26th Annual Conference

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8-10 November, 2017, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Association of European Election Officials and the Central Election Commission of Bulgaria cordially invite you to attend the 26th Annual Conference and General Assembly meeting of the ACEEEO, which will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 8-10 November 2017.

The ACEEEO was established in 1991 with seven former socialist bloc countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. More than quarter century have passed and the ACEEEO continues to grow with 25 institutional members from Europe and Eurasia.
In 2017 Bulgaria, our founder-member took over the Presidency of the Association and hosts the 26th Annual Conference. With the active participation of over 100 electoral experts this year we intend to discuss the topic of ‘The Conscious Voters in the digital age’. In the frame of the theoretical aspects we will focus on questions of the access to the public information; the freedom of expression; the free electoral campaign. During the conference we would like to deal with several practical aspects, like the new ways of voter information; special needs of youth voters; the role of the EMBs in the flow of the information. Understanding that the youth voters are a special group with peculiar needs, we decided to dedicate a separate round table discussion to this phenomenon. The topic of the session will be ‘How to reach the younger generation?’

The description of the event along with the draft agenda and the concept paper are available on our website.

 

We invite speakers for the following panels:

Plenary session II. - Conscious voters in the digital age – Case studies 

This session will cover the practical aspects of the topic and would like to present best practices on enabling the voters to make conscious decision. Presentations should give concrete examples from the field of campaign regulation, voter information campaigns, using of ICT to reach this goal, etc. Please check the concept paper. Presentation should not be longer than 10-12 minutes. 

 

Roundtable discussion – How to reach the younger generation? 

In this session, we would like to gather those EMB and international experts who have an experience with involving first voters and enhancing their participations. Ideas, dilemmas, good or bad experiences are all welcome. The moderated discussion will collect 6-7 experts.

 

Workshop A - Is this our responsibility? The role of the electoral management bodies in making conscious voters

Electoral management bodies have a crucial role in voters' information. The question is, how they can complete the use of traditional ways of information, reflecting on the challenges of the 21st century, by using the recent developments of ICT and social media? Workshop A, containing 2-3 speakers (15 minute presentation) and a longer discussion, deals with this topic.

 

Workshop B – Should electoral campaigns be regulated? Theoretical and practical aspects of a restricted political area

Basically, freedom of expression and freedom of press demand the non-interference of the state. However, in order to enhance the democratic debate and the voters’ right to be informed, exceptionally it can interfere with the flow of information. The question is, what can be the level of this interference, how far can the state go when regulating the campaign and influencing its natural way? What are the best methods to help voters understand more difficult political issues if campaigns are simplified? How to make them have all necessary information to become a conscious voter? How to increase voter turnout? Workshop B, containing 2-3 speakers (15 minute presentation) and a longer discussion, deals with these topics.

 

How to Participate

Interested scholars or practicioners are asked to submit an abstract no longer than 500 words by 15 August 2017 to aceeeo@aceeeo.org (indicating also the panel of interest) along with a short (max. 150 words) bio. The organisers will choose abstracts and notify all scholars no later than 31 August 2017.

 

Costs

Participants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses.

 

Questions

Please direct inquiries in connection with this conference to ACEEEO Secretariat at aceeeo@aceeeo.org.

 

About the organisers

Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO)

The Association of European Election Officials, formerly the Association of Central and Eastern Election Officials, was established in 1991. It is a non-governmental organization, an alliance that is independent from political parties. The Association’s main objective is to provide assistance for holding free and fair elections. In order to achieve this mission, the Association supports the operation of permanent election commissions and offices and actively contributes to the establishment of legal standards regarding the requirements for democratic elections. The ACEEEO organizes different meeting points for election professionals – conferences and seminars – and provides professional assistance and guidance for those who require it. By 2017 the ACEEEO counts 25 member-countries and several member-NGOs and keeps good partnership relations with the different international organizations in the field of elections.

 

Central Election Commission of Bulgaria

The Central Election Commission is a permanent independent state body with a mandate of 5 years and consist of 22 members. The Chairperson, Vice chairman and Secretary shell be elected by the National Assembly. Members are appointed by the President. The procedure provides for nomination of NGO’s, the parties and coalitions represented in the NA and the European parliament at the time of appointment, after public hearings of the nominees. Required nominees have experience professional reputation and integrity.  The Chairperson, Vices and Secretary shell be nominated by different parties. The meeting are public and broadcast on-line. The Commission passes its decisions by a 2/3 majority. They are subject to judicial control by Supreme administrative court. CEC conducts all elections and referendums and submit a report containing analysis and proposal in the National Assembly.

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