Midterm report January 2010

 

The Midterm report is downloadable from here

 

Contents

1. Project overview

2. Established professional and management bodies

3. General study

4. Regional survey

5. Case studies

6. Additional results

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1. Project overview

ACEEEO launched a two-years project called „Developing accurate voters’ list in transitional democracies with the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The project aims to research, analyse and present the regional practices, experiences and problems in the field of voter registration.

During the project different elements has to be delivered: 1. a comprehensive study on the general aspects, international standards and definitions of voter registration; 2. a regional survey on theory and practice of voter registration in the ACEEEO-region; 3. Six detailed country case studies; 4. a manual for practitioners on problems and solution of voter registration; 5. an international conference for experts and practitioners on the project’s main topic.

This interim report presents the results of the first year of the project.

 

2. Established professional and management bodies

 
2.1. Advisory Board
 

The Advisory Board is composed of world experienced electoral experts from important partner organisations and institutions, like OSCE ODIHR, Council of Europe, European Commission (DG RELEX), International IDEA and IFES. The Chairman of the Advisory Board is Mr. Richard Soudriette, President Emeritus of IFES and Honorary Member of ACEEEO. The Advisory Board analyses the professional materials prepared during the project, conslults and advises on how to improve the professional quality of the project.

The Advisory Board held its first meeting during the Annual Conference of ACEEEO. The Advisors commented on the comprehensive study and on the questionnaires prepared for the regional survey and the case studies. The Advisors discussed definitions of registries, suggested to consult the ACE-network’s glossary, eligibility criteria, data protection issues.

 
2.2. Steering Committee
 

A Steering Committee was established within the ACEEEO Secretariat to regularly overview the management of the project and to provide professional and organisational support for the implementation. Mr. István Zsuffa, ACEEEO’s External Expert is the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee had four meetings during the first year to overview th development of the project. Experts were invited to the meetings for consultation, when it was necessary.

 
2.3. Experts’ Team
 

The project’s Steering Committee found and hired professional voter registration experts, practitioners and academic researchers to implement the research and analysis tasks of the project. Mr. Sam Younger, President Emeritus of the UK Electoral Commission is the Head of the Experts’ Team.

The Experts’ Team communicated through electronic ways, and held three meetings in Budapest, where the members discussed the professional aspects of the different studies, agreed on labour division, prepared the questionnaires of the surveys and finalised the texts of the studies.

 
3. General study
 

A general study has been prepared by members of the Experts’ Team on the most important aspects of voter registration, clarifying definitions, analysing international standards and national legislation, identifying typical problems. The study creates professional basis for the regional survey and for the country case studies.

 
4. Regional survey
 

The Experts’ Team prepared a comprehensive questionnaire on the national voter registration systems, which was sent to all ACEEEO institutional members. The electoral bodies will send back the filled questionnaires by the time of the ACEEEO Annual Conference in Yerevan, and the Experts’ Team will analyse the results, which will be the basis of their research paper.

The questionnaires were sent to the member countries of ACEEEO and they were asked to fill them and to send them back in due time toe the Secretariat. The experience with the election management bodies (EMBs) competence and capacity to analyse their own work’s legal framework and its implementation, and to report on it in a simple way was very different. Some EMBs were quick and responsive, and sent back the questionnaires in due time. One of them had problems with the term ‘transitional democracy’, another wanted to report later on the new system, which will be in place in two years. Many of the EMBs were able to answer only after repeated urging consultation. An important experience from the exercise of collecting the material was, that more intense cooperation between the EMBs and the academia is needed, as important analytical and reporting skills and capacities are missing with the EMBs.

 
5. Country case studies
 

Six ACEEEO institutional members (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia and Moldova) expressed their willingness to support the project by preparing detailed analysis of their national voter registration system. The Experts’ team prepared a detailed questionnaire to assist them in the analysis. International organisations and academic researchers will be asked to prepare a shadow report on the national voter registration system in order to give the ACEEEO researchers a different view on the analysed systems. The case studies will provide the second basic element for the research paper.

The case study countries are considered as partners in the project, and a Partners’ meeting was held in Yerevan, during ACEEEO’s annual conference in September, and another one is planned for April 2010 in Chisinau, Moldova.

The questionnaires were sent to the partners, and a similar phenomenon was experienced, as with the general survey, some EMBs had more competences and capacities, some of them had less, which was manifested in the time, when they were able to send back their answers.

 

6. Analysis of voter registration systems in the region

Based on the regional survey and the case studies a second study was prepared by the Experts’ Team, a comprehensive analysis of the voter registration systems in the Central and Eastern European region. Many similarities and differences were observed in the national systems, problems and best practices were identified. The study offers a useful

 
7. Additional results
 

Because of ACEEEO’s professional engagement in the field of Voter registration, important international cooperation opportunities appeared. The UN Secretariat and UNDP initiated a Working Group on the use of technologies and voter registration, where ACEEEO was able to contribute to the joint efforts. As a result of this cooperation a new working group will start on the ACE Network, and probably a new panel will be included into the program of the GEO Conference in 2010.

Budapest, January 2010