The recent years’ elections raised several phenomena that totally rearrange that we thought about elections, electoral campaign, voters’ behavior and voter information.
Election turnout is decreasing critically, and there are rare examples where the process could be reversed.
Most of the voters do not collect information before the elections in the traditional way. Voter information tools that worked well in the past do not reach enough people. New forms of communication became popular but influence not only the quantity of information that reach the voter but also the quality.
Campaigns are less complex, campaign programs of candidates and political parties are simplified or do not exist. Social media creates an information bubble for the users and closes them from the different opinions. Fake news flood the internet and influence voters also in political matters. The campaign money has a huge influence on the results of the election.
These phenomena raise numerous theoretical and practical questions.
A broadly accepted constitutional principle is the right to access the public information in a democratic society. This right is a precondition of the freedom of information as without the necessary knowledge citizens cannot participate in the democratic debate and the public life.
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?
Not only campaign information should be available for the voters but also information on the electoral system and process.
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?
Youth voters are a special group; their special needs should be taken into account. Complete programs shall be provided for the education that is important to be developed in cooperation with educational institutions and educational non-governmental organizations.
Also, regional electoral organizations play an important role in this field. As part of a long-term strategy, ACEEEO would like to provide assistance for electoral management bodies to face the challenges of the 21st century that comes from the changes of the technical conditions of communication in the electoral process. Our goal is to enable electoral stakeholders to increase voters’ information and, as a consequence, to return tendency of decreasing voter turnout.