International Electoral Awards

 

International Electoral Awards 2017

Electoral Award Categories

International Institutional Engagement Award

The International Institutional Engagement Award will honour initiatives in the field of election assistance and election observation that successfully contributed to an increase of legitimisation of the electoral process and a growth of public confidence towards democratic procedures.

Context

Article 21 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the right of everyone to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Furthermore, Article 21 determines that the will of the people shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. The engagement of International Institutions, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations and Charities aims at supporting countries to carry out elections that meet these fundamental democratic principles.

Criteria

The International Institutional Engagement Award will honour initiatives in the field of election assistance and election observation that successfully contributed to an increase of legitimisation of the electoral process and a growth of public confidence towards democratic procedures.

In this category the members of the Electoral Stakeholders Network are invited to nominate International Institutions, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations, Charities and people working in the third sector. The nominee’s work should have had an emphasis on monetary, technical or material support, training, legal assistance, voter registration, combating electoral fraud and civic education. Furthermore electoral observer missions are eligible to be nominated for an award. Nominations should specify the international actor responsible for the initiative, the initiative itself and the country in which the initiative was implemented. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Electoral Conflict Management Award

This Award will honour undertakings of an Electoral Management Body or Electoral Management Official that has effectively managed a pre- or post-electoral conflict and/or successfully managed elections in a conflict environment.

Context

Conflicts and disputes related to elections are multifaceted. Pre- or post electoral disputes are an important proof for the vitality of a political system and for ability to critically asses and question democratic processes. Furthermore, they are a sign of civil society’s common understanding of electoral procedures. Moreover, elections can be used as a mediating and pacifying instrument to solve an existing political conflict in a given country. The acceptance of the outcome of an election is once more a viable sign for the maturity and health of a democracy. Nonetheless, elections can also cause conflicts ranging from peaceful protests to mass upheavals and violent eruptions. A recent development is the transformation from post-conflict elections to conflict elections. More precisely this means that elections are often held in countries with ongoing conflicts, in a hostile and violent environment. It is a common practise of anti-democratic forces to threaten and harm voters on polling day to sabotage elections and undermine a countries democracy.

Criteria

Different conflicts need different solutions and approaches to be solved. The Electoral Conflict Management Award will honour undertakings of an Election Management Body or Election Management Official that have effectively managed a pre- or post-electoral conflict. Furthermore, the successful use of elections as a pacifying or mediating instrument and the prevention of electoral violence will be rewarded. Additionally, the successful holding of elections in a conflict environment will be recognised.

The members of the Electoral Stakeholders Network are invited to nominate an Election Management Body or an Election Management Official who has achieved outstanding results in the field of electoral conflict management. Nominations should specify the Election Management Body or Person nominated and the respective initiative. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Accessibility Award

This Award will recognise initiatives by Election Management Bodies or Election Management Officials to ensure that groups within a society which have been excluded from the electoral process due to physical and geographical obstacles are brought back in the electoral process.

Context

In an election, it is crucial that every eligible citizen has equal access to the election in both law and practice. Yet, we know that election after election and across democracies, this equality of access, while theoretically guaranteed, is often not entirely delivered in practice. For physical, social, or cultural reasons, some categories of population end up being excluded from the electoral process (either in general or at least in great proportion). Impediments to electoral accessibility can take a great number of shapes and forms - from the physical impossibility of access to voters who are disabled or live too far from their polling station, to the impossibility of illiterate voters to complete some of the electoral formalities.

Criteria

The Accessibility Award will recognise outstanding initiatives by Election Management bodies to ensure that a category of population which has been partly or wholly excluded from the electoral process in the past (be it for physical, geographical, social, cultural, or educational reasons) is brought back in electoral democracy.

Initiatives nominated for this award may, by nature, encompass a great range of different types of measures. They might include initiatives to ensure full access for disabled citizens, facilitated transportation for citizens who live far away from their polling station, research undertaken to understand which demographic, social, or cultural parts of the population effectively tend to be excluded from electoral procedures, or initiatives aiming at increasing participation amongst those parts of the population. Nominations should specify both the Election Management Body nominated and the initiative perceived to have improved citizens' engagement. Criteria will also include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Gender Equality Award

This Award rewards Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials who encouraged and implemented equal participation rights for women and men to guarantee the proportionality and representativeness of elections.

Context

Equality of elections can have a myriad of different aspects. Other than accessibility, the other main aspect of electoral equality is proportionality and representativeness. In principle this means that every group present in a society has to be able to cast their vote and thus be adequately represented in the electoral outcome. No-one should be excluded from the democratic process due to gender, ethnicity, religion or any other social, biological or cultural reason. However, in reality the inequality of elections is still a major problem, in long-standing Western democracies as well as in emerging or transitional ones.

Criteria

The Equality Award aims at rewarding Electoral Commissions who made extensive efforts in their country to guarantee proportionality and representativeness of elections. On one side this can comprise initiatives to increase electoral participation of women, ethnic, linguistic, or religious minorities. On the other side this comprises initiatives to adapt or establish an electoral system and electoral law, which guarantees that neither less populated geographical areas or constituencies are disproportionally represented in the electoral outcome.

The members of the Electoral Stakeholders Network are invited to nominate an initiative from an Electoral Commission to guarantee the proportional representation of all social, ethical, religious, cultural or geographical groups present in a given country. Nominations should specify both the Election Management Body nominated and the initiative perceived to have improved electoral equality. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Minority Participation Award

This Award rewards Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials who strengthened and executed the rights of minorities to cast their vote and actively participate in the democratic process.

Context

Every group present in a society has to be able to cast their vote and thus be adequately represented in the electoral outcome. No minority present in a given society should be excluded from the democratic process due to ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic, cultural or economic reasons. However, in reality minorities are often deprived from their right to participate and vote in the electoral process, in long- standing Western democracies as well as in emerging or transitional ones.

Criteria

The Minority Participation Award aims at rewarding Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials, who made extensive efforts in their country to guarantee, strengthen and execute the rights of minorities to cast their vote and actively participate in the democratic process. This comprises all initiatives on a civil or political level to include and bring back voters from minorities into the electoral process.

The members of the Electoral Stakeholders Network are invited to nominate an Electoral Management Body or Electoral Management Official who has achieved outstanding results in increasing the electoral participation of voters that belong to one or more minorities. Nominations should specify the Election Management Body and/or person and the initiative perceived to have improved electoral minority participation. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Election Management Award

This Award recognises approaches by Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials which were able to overcome remarkable country specific challenges; improving elections and guaranteeing a secure, transparent and smooth running of elections.

Context

The successful management of elections is crucial to a valid outcome of the democratic process. Truly democratic elections often stand and fall with the quality of the electoral management which has to be done differently in every country. There is no one size fits all approach for successful electoral management. However, election management is mainly about handling the organisation, logistics and infrastructure of elections. Breaking it down, election management is predominantly tackling the challenge of voter registration, guaranteeing a transparent and secure electoral process, carrying out a flawless authentication of voters, providing the necessary facilities, instruments and materials for elections and securing a faultless and adequate counting of the votes and presentation of results.

Criteria

The Electoral Management Award recognises electoral management approaches by Electoral Management Bodies or Electoral Management Official which were able to overcome remarkable country specific challenges; guaranteeing a secure, transparent and smooth running of elections.

The members of the Electoral Stakeholders Network are warmly invited to nominate an Electoral Management Bodies or Electoral Management Official who delivered an outstanding management of elections, achieving excellent results. Nominations should specify both the Election Management Body and/or person nominated and elections that have been excellently managed.

Citizens' Engagement Award

This Award rewards Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials for putting citizens at the heart of the electoral process and maximising their engagement and their satisfaction. This could comprise initiatives to tackle low turnout, cynicism, distrust, perceived legitimacy issues.

Context

Democracy is government by citizens, and elections are the tool which is used across the democratic world to ensure that citizens are in control of their political system. This means that citizens should be at the heart of any election, and that the absolute priority of any election management body should be to ensure that elections are organised in such a way as to optimise the engagement, participation, satisfaction, trust, and perceived legitimacy of citizens.

Criteria

The Citizens Engagement Award is aimed at rewarding Electoral Management Bodies or Electoral Management Officials for embracing what should perhaps be their most important goal: to put citizens at the heart of the electoral process and maximise their engagement and their satisfaction. At a time when most democratic societies face problems with citizens’ engagement, such as low turnout, cynicism, distrust, perceived legitimacy issues, and low democratic satisfaction, Electoral Management Bodies have a key role to play to restore trust in the electoral system and citizens’ involvement in electoral democracy.

As a consequence, we invite nominations for any outstanding initiative by an Electoral Management Body or Electoral Management Official to foster and improve citizens engagement. This could be a policy which has improved turnout, is improving citizens’ trust in or satisfaction with the electoral process, or has attempted to better understand what are citizens’ perceptions about the electoral process or what impedes them from being more engaged. Nominations should specify both the Election Management Body and/or person nominated and the initiative perceived to have improved citizens’ engagement. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

First Time Voter Award

This Award will recognise Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials which have taken outstanding measures to facilitate optimise the electoral experience of first time voters, realising the importance of the first electoral experience of a voter and the unique challenges that it raises.

Context

Academic research has shown that the most important election in an individual’s life is usually his/her first. First time voters are ‘special’, because how they perceive the first election in which they are eligible to vote, whether they do participate in it or abstain, and how good or bad their first electoral experience is will determine their perception of and attitudes towards electoral democracy for the rest of their lives. First time voters are also unique because of the challenges that they pose to Election Management Bodies. They may not have any prior knowledge about elections, parties, or the electoral process, they may be intimidated by their new responsibility as a citizen, and they may have different questions and concerns as compared to experienced voters.

Criteria

The First Time Voters Award will recognise Electoral Management Bodies or Electoral Management Officials which have taken outstanding measures to facilitate, optimise, and/or help the electoral experience of first time voters, realising the importance of the first electoral experience of a voter and the unique challenges that it raises.

Initiatives nominated for the award may be directed at any type of first time voters: young voters who reach franchise age for the first time, new citizens, who have just received the nationality of their country and will be eligible to participate in its elections for the first time, or even all citizens in a country that has had its first democratic elections. Any initiative helping the situation of first time voters is eligible, whether it pertains to information, registration, voting conditions, satisfaction, or any other aspect of the vote preparation and process. Nominations should specify both, the Election Management Body and/or person nominated and the initiative perceived to have improved citizens’ engagement. Criteria will include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Electoral Ergonomy Award

This Award will recognise Electoral Management Bodies and Electoral Officials which tailored electoral procedures to the psychology of their voter and the specific characteristics of their electorate.

Context

Electoral ergonomy is the optimisation of the design of every detail of electoral procedures to make them as suited as possible to the citizens of a given country. Research has shown that every detail in electoral procedures matters. Adapting them to the psychology of citizens and the specificity of a country’s society and culture can have an immense impact on the quality of electoral democracy. Indeed, electoral ergonomy can have a very strong effect on minimising error and influences in the vote, they determine how comfortable voters are with elections, and how positively they feel towards the electoral process.

Criteria

The Electoral Ergonomy Award will therefore recognise outstanding initiatives taken by an Election Management Body to tailor some electoral procedures to the psychology of their voter and the specific characteristics of their electorate (cultural habits, demographic and geographical make-up of the population, social or literacy characteristics, etc).

Initiatives nominated for this award may pertain to any aspect of electoral ergonomy, such as the design of the polling ballots or adaptation of voting machines, the organisation of the polling station or the polling booth, research on alternative voting mechanisms such as advanced, postal, or electronic voting. The key criteria pertain to the taking into account of the needs and specificities of citizens in the decisions made by Electoral Management Bodies, be it in the design, evaluation, justification, and/or experimentation of voting procedures according to voters’ needs, psychology and culture. Nominations should specify both the Election Management Body nominated and the initiative perceived to have improved citizens’ engagement. Criteria will also include the originality of the initiative, how well it was designed and implemented, and how effective its results have been.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Non-nomination Category. This award shall be given to people for their remarkable achievements, outstanding work, deep commitment or great sacrifice in the fields of elections and democracy. Honoured shall be courage, persistence, dedication and the decision to cope with an issue against all odds.

Context

Throughout history it has been proven that the action, dedication and commitment of one individual can have the power to massively impact on social, political and cultural matters. Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Emmeline Pankhurst, are among the most popular examples where the effort of one individual changed, what has been widely perceived as unchangeable. Especially in politics this unconditional personal commitment for a special cause is entangled with personal sacrifice. Mostly because political issues and problems are deeply rooted in society, interests fiercely protected by political or economic elites and thus it takes more than a lifetime to solve them.

Criteria

This award shall be given to people for their remarkable achievements, outstanding work, deep commitment or great sacrifice in the fields of elections and democracy. Honoured shall be courage, persistence, dedication and the decision to cope with an issue against all odds.

The members of the Electoral Award Committee will chose a winner who matches the above described criteria.

Electoral Commissioner of the year

Non-nomination Category. The Award Committee will honour a selected Commissioner, taking into consideration the in-country but also international engagement of the Commissioner and pay special attention to the Commissioner’s commitment and contribution to strengthen the international electoral community.

The head of an electoral commission can have different titles: Chairman or Chairperson, Commissioner or Director. However, the responsibilities of the head of an electoral commissioner are very similar, yet highly complex. Longstanding expertise in the field of elections is needed, as well as an in-depth understanding of the political landscape and the civil society of a given country. Moreover, the head of an electoral commission must constantly stay in contact with his fellow commissioners all over the world, to stay informed and learn about new electoral practices but also to share his experiences.

The ICPS International Electoral Award Committee will honour a selected Commissioner with the Commissioner of the Year Award. A decision will be made by taking into consideration the in-country but also international engagement of the Commissioner. The Award Committee will pay special attention to the Commissioner’s commitment and contribution to strengthen the international electoral community.

The ICPS Electoral Stakeholders Award Committee will create a shortlist on the basis of the submitted nomination and will subsequently choose a winner. This is a non-nomination category. The International Electoral Award Committee will choose the winner in this category.

Electoral Commission of the year

Non-nomination Category. The Award Committee will honour a Commission, taking into consideration the effort to foster a 'community of good citizens' among election practitioners and the search for best practice, evidence based research and policy in the field of elections of Electoral Commissions worldwide.

Electoral Commissions worldwide are the independent watchdogs of democratic processes checking and balancing the use of democratic means by the governing political elite. Their duties are manifold and so are their challenges. Every Electoral Commission depending on the countries electoral system, demographic and geographic constitution has to approach its tasks in a fundamentally different way. Even the organisational composition and structure of Electoral Commissions differs vastly.

The Award for the Electoral Commission of the year will honour a Commission, taking into consideration the above described diversity of challenges, duties and organisational structures. Furthermore, the effort to foster a 'community of good citizens' among election practitioners and the search for best practice and evidence based research and policy in the field of elections of Electoral Commissions worldwide will be taken into consideration.

The Electoral Commissioner of the year Award is a non-nomination category. Every Commission that has been nominated in another category is automatically also nominated as Electoral Commission of the year. The ICPS Electoral Stakeholders Award Committee will create a shortlist on the basis of the submitted nomination and will subsequently choose a winner.