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The publications listed here have been produced by the previous NEEDS Project, the European Commission and other institutions engaged in the field of electoral observation and assistance. They represent an essential first list of reading material on election related topics.

Handbook for EUEOM 2nd Edition

2nd Edition of the Handbook for EU Election Observation

This second edition has been thoroughly revised to take into account advances in the European Union’s methodology for observing and assessing an election process. It highlights that the European Union approach is based on international human rights standards, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The handbook also underlines that EU EOMs adhere to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, a landmark document commemorated at the United Nations in 2005. The handbook explains the criteria used in deciding whether to observe an election, the steps taken to establish an EOM, and how a mission functions. EN | FR | ES
Compendium of International Standards

Compendium of International Standards for Elections

This compendium aims to assist EU Election Observation Missions and other interested stakeholders in clearly identifying the international standards to use in assessing the conduct of elections. To facilitate such assessment, a practical guide has been included as an annex. It is the Commission’s expectation that EU Election Observation Missions will make use of this new tool to assess the conduct of elections in line with international standards and ensure coherence among EU Election Observation Missions. EN | FR | ES
EC Methodological Guide on Electoral Assistance

EC Methodological Guide on Electoral Assistance

The Commission’s Methodological Guide on Electoral Assistance is part of the ongoing effort to place electoral assistance more firmly within the framework of democratic development and to become a pillar of the support to governance. The Guide develops the strategic operational framework in the field of electoral assistance, in order to rationalize and make Commission interventions more homogeneous, effective and in harmony with overall EU objectives. This Guide was prepared to offer all Commission staff and others whose work requires specific knowledge of particular EU electoral assistance issues a tool to assist them with the policy and strategic framework in this area, issues and entry points for activities, as well as resources for their formulation and implementation. EN | FR | ES
The Integrity of Elections, The Role of Regional Organizations

The Integrity of Elections: The Role of Regional Organizations

Within the framework of the Interregional Dialogue on Democracy, an itinerant regional round table on democracy issues organised under the auspices of International IDEA, the key experts of the NEEDS Project presented their view on the role that modern election observation plays for the EU democracy support agenda, the progresses achieved in the past ten years and the challenges ahead (third articles). For more information on this project please click here.
Handbook for EUEOM 1st Edition

A Handbook for EU Election Observation Missions

Democracy is not just about elections, but genuine elections are a necessary condition for democracy. EUEOMs have the task of observing and reporting on an election process in its entirety, enhancing transparency and providing an impartial assessment. This handbook is intended as a tool and a reference book with methodological guidelines and practical recommendations. EN | FR | ES
Promoting and Defending Democracy

The Work of Domestic Election Observer Groups Around the World

Civil society is a vitally important outlet for democratic activity and civil society groups are central partners in the promotion and defence of democratic development – from Latin America to Asia and from Europe to Africa. The aim of this publication is to highlight the work done by domestic election observers around the world, in terms of their scrutiny of the electoral process and their support for increased transparency and accountability in the political processes in their respective countries.
Communication from the Commission on EU Election Assistance and Observation

Communication from the European Commission on EU Election Assistance and Observation

After years of ad hoc electoral support, this Communication to the Parliament, issued in 2000, represents a watershed in the way the EC approached electoral support, defining assistance and observation as two complementary and synergetic components. The development of the observation methodology that currently underpins EU EOMs originated from this Communication.

Commission Staff Working Paper on Election Observation Implementation

Commission Staff Working Paper on Election Observation Implementation

This Working Paper from the EC services dealing with elections tackled the issues raised by the implementation of COM 191/2000 and explored the growing synergies between election observation and assistance within the EU democracy support framework in the early days after the establishment of a proper observation methodology.

Declaration of Principles

Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation

This Declaration of Principles promulgated in 2005 set forth the criteria underpinning credible international observation missions. It represents a very significant achievement in the establishment of better coordination mechanisms among various international observation institutions and in the adoption of common standards and roles of conduct.

Electoral Management Design

Electoral Management Design: The International IDEA Handbook

The Electoral Management Design Handbook is written for electoral administrators, electoral administration designers and other practitioners involved in building professional, sustainable and cost-effective electoral administrations which can deliver legitimate and credible free and fair elections. It is a comparative study that shares best practices and know-how from around the world on financing, structuring and evaluation of Electoral Management Bodies.

Effective Electoral Assistance - Moving from Event-based Support to Process Support - Conference report and conclusions

Effective Electoral Assistance - Moving from Event-based Support to Process Support

The Ottawa Conference on Effective Electoral Assistance, held from 2 to 4 May 2006, brought together many electoral stakeholders to share thoughts and experiences on electoral assistance. Participants included representatives from donor agencies engaged in the provision or funding of electoral assistance, from EMBs and other organizations in countries that are or have been recipients of electoral assistance and funding. Donor support for elections has traditionally been event-driven. Ample resources have often been available for a first transitional election, but much less for subsequent elections. The time has now come to ask questions about whether this money is well spent. Are democracies more sustainable today as a result of electoral assistance? Have donors, implementing agencies and recipients agreed on principles and standards?

Declaration of Principles

Designing for Equality

Designing for Equality provides an overview of how electoral systems function with different kinds of quotas for women. It assesses how women’s representation can be increased under different combinations of electoral systems and quotas. This publication aims to serve as a reference tool for all those who work to increase women’s representation in politics.

Electoral System Design: the New International IDEA Handbook

Electoral System Design Handbook

The choice of electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy. In almost all cases the choice of a particular electoral system has a profound effect on the future political life of the country concerned, and electoral systems, once chosen, often remain fairly constant as political interests solidify around and respond to the incentives presented by them. The Handbook explains how electoral system choice is a fundamentally political process, rather than a question to which independent technical experts can produce a single ‘correct answer’ and how the consideration of political advantage is almost always a factor in the choice of electoral systems.

Direct Democracy: The International IDEA Handbook

Direct Democracy Handbook

this Handbook delves into a global comparison of direct democracy mechanisms, including referendums, citizens’ initiatives, agenda initiatives and recall. A detailed look into each of these instruments is discussed in a chapter by chapter analysis of each tool, including comprehensive definitions, how each instrument can be used to shape political decisions and an outline of the steps most often involved in planning any given procedure.

International Electoral Standards: Guidelines for reviewing the legal framework of elections

International Electoral Standards: Guidelines for reviewing the legal framework of elections

What constitutes a fair electoral system and a fair election? What are the guiding principles for reviewing electoral legislation? IDEA’s book on International Electoral Standards sets out the basic legal components governing elections for the purpose of reviewing, drafting or amending electoral legislation. It aims to contribute to promoting uniformity, reliability, consistency, accuracy as well as professionalism in elections. The book covers a range of areas including boundary delimitation, electoral management bodies, voter registration, campaign finance and expenditure, balloting, vote counting, complaints and the role of parties and candidates.

Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting

Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting

Electoral bodies around the world have increasingly begun to use electronic voting (e-voting) technologies. The Carter Center and the international election observation community recognize these emergent technologies as one of the largest challenges facing their work. By its very nature, e-voting technology limits transparency as many aspects of vote tabulation occur invisibly. Observation organizations have had little experience observing elections with e-voting technology until recently. To address these challenges, The Carter Center has begun a multi-year collaborative initiative focused on facilitating a greater understanding of automated and e-voting technology and is developing a methodology for observing elections where electronic voting technology is used. The new methodology will provide the Center with a framework for conducting more meaningful assessments of electoral processes with e-voting systems.