2016 U.S. Election Program and Seventh Global Elections Organization (GEO-7) Conference

Event Date:

06 Nov 2016 at 2:00pm

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, voters in the United States will cast ballots in the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election.

For almost three decades, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported citizens’ rights to participate in free and fair elections around the globe. Since 1992, IFES has hosted a flagship event, the U.S. Election Program (USEP), which brings together election officials, parliamentarians and diplomats from around the world to observe and learn about the U.S. electoral system as well as discuss elections and voting from comparative international perspectives.

We invite you to participate in our 2016 U.S. Election Program, which this year will be immediately followed by the Seventh Global Elections Organization (GEO-7) Conference. The combined events are scheduled to take place Sunday, November 6, through Thursday, November 10, 2016.

This year’s USEP offers a range of plenary sessions, including discussions of:

  • New trends in voter registration;
  • Campaign finance and the role of super PACs; and
  • An evaluation of a decade of electoral reforms in the U.S.

On Election Day, we will host a breakfast briefing featuring a prominent Republican and Democrat. You will also participate in an exclusive tour of polling sites throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and attend a reception honoring a fellow election practitioner with the 2016 Joe C. Baxter Award. The evening will conclude with an election watch party with live televised coverage of election results.

The GEO-7 Conference will foster technical discussions of interest to election administrators and focus on the use of data and technology to improve transparency and accountability. GEO partners include the Association of European Election Officials, IFES, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute, the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division and the United Nations Development Programme.

Event Logistics

The official working language of the USEP and GEO-7 is English. Simultaneous interpretation of all plenary sessions will be available in Arabic, French and Spanish. Program materials will also be translated into Arabic, French and Spanish.

The registration fee to attend both the USEP and GEO-7 is $950.00.

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

If you have any questions, please contact us at USEP@IFES.org.

2016 U.S. Election Program (USEP) Conference Agenda

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Washington Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Early Arrivals, Program Registration and Exhibitor Set-up
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

President’s USEP Welcome Reception
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Washington Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Arrivals and Program Registration
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Continental Breakfast
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

U.S. Election Program Opening Remarks: Welcome and Overview
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Speakers:
William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
Judy Black, Vice Chairman, International Foundation for Electoral Systems Board of Directors

Plenary: America Decides 2016: Candidates, Campaigns and Parties
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

The 2016 election cycle has been characterized by hotly contested presidential primary processes in which both major parties experienced anti-establishment candidacies fueled by voters’ frustration with Washington, D.C. and politics as usual. Panelists will discuss how old rules of presidential campaign politics have been challenged in this election cycle, the role of independent voters in campaign strategies, and the potential impact of this year’s election on the future of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Moderator: Michael Svetlik, Vice President of Programs, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Senior Fellow, Family Research Council; Member, Board of Directors, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
Tad Devine, Senior Adviser for Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential Campaign, International Foundation for Electoral Systems Board of Directors
Doug Chapin, Director of the Program for Excellence in Election Administration, University of Minnesota Humphrey School

Morning Break
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom and Archives Room (exhibitors’ hall)
10:35 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.

Plenary: Securing the Franchise? Voter ID Requirements and Limits on Early Voting
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Seventeen states have new rules for voting in place for these presidential elections. Chief among them are requirements for photo identification, but they also include curtailment of early voting periods, the ending of Election Day registration and the restoration of voting rights of convicted felons. Federal courts have securitized these new provisions; overruling some and affirming others. This panel explores how states are attempting to secure the franchise, through actions that can be seen as either limiting or expanding the right to vote.

Moderator: Chad Vickery, Director, Center for Applied Research and Learning, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
John Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center
Rebecca Green, Professor of the Practice of Law and Co-Director of the Election Law Program, College of William & Mary
Matthew Sanderson, Attorney, Caplin & Drysdale

Lunch
Mezzanine Level (one floor above lobby)
12:35 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

Plenary: Follow the Money: Megadonors, Small Donors and Super PACs
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

More money will be raised by campaigns, candidates and political action committees in this year’s elections than any other in history. In a post-Citizens United era, unlimited donations to so-called SuperPacs flow freely, but at the same time campaigns are turning to small donations from a broad donor base with increasing success. This panel will explore recent trends in campaign finance, the evolving regulatory environment, and efforts to increase transparency in the funding of candidates and campaigns.

Moderator: Katherine Ellena, Senior Legal Specialist, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Ann Ravel, Commissioner, Federal Election Commission
Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics
Jess Yescalis, President, Yescalis Campaign Strategies

Afternoon Break
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom and Archives Room (exhibitors’ hall)
3:35 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.

Plenary: Protecting the Integrity of the Vote: Cyber-attacks, Hackers and Election Security
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Media reports of cyber-attacks on state election offices and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks have increased concerns over the security of the US presidential elections. Over the past two decades, many election processes – from voter registration to ballot counting – have been automated in efforts to meet federal legal obligations and increase the credibility of the results. In the lead-up to the November 8 elections, however, both new and aging technologies have come under increased scrutiny. This panel evaluates the vulnerabilities of the US election infrastructure and efforts that are being made to protect the integrity of elections now and in the future.

Moderator: Erica Shein, Deputy Director, Center for Applied Research and Learning, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Thomas Hicks, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
Tammy Patrick, Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center

Election Simulation
Capitol Room and Congress Room, meetings level 4
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Immediately following the plenary session on electoral reforms in the United States, conference participants will have the opportunity to take part in an interactive election simulation meant to reflect the experiences of voters with disabilities. Participants will attempt to vote at one of two polling stations: one that is accessible and one that is not.

Night Owl Session: In Pursuit of Political and Electoral Rights for Internally Displaced Persons
Supreme Court Room, meetings level 4
8:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

This is an optional session, intended for more intimate discussion of a technical topic. Please note that no language interpretation will be provided during this session.

Electoral participation by internally displaced persons (IDPs) is a challenging political and technical undertaking that is increasingly relevant given that there are currently estimated to be over 40 million IDPs worldwide. International treaty commitments require all citizens to have the right and opportunity to vote and to be elected, without unreasonable restrictions and discrimination, and political commitments explicitly refer to IDPs’ electoral participation. This session will discuss IFES’ new global white paper: “Internally Displaced Persons and Electoral Participation: A Brief Overview.”

Presenter:
Peter Erben, Sr. Global Electoral Advisor, Ukraine Country Director, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Washington Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Election Day Breakfast Briefing
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

On Election Day, voters across all 50 states and U.S. territories will head to the polls to elect a new president, in addition to representatives of Congress and various local offices. Two veterans of the American political scene will evaluate the presidential campaigns, examine the latest public opinion data and discuss the Congressional races, which will determine control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This stimulating breakfast briefing precedes the visits to polling stations across the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Moderator: William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., Co-Chairman, Commission on Presidential Debates
Michael D. McCurry, Co-Chairman, Commission on Presidential Debates

Election Day - Tour of Polling Stations in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Please wait for buses to be called in the Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

IFES will take visitors on an exclusive half-day tour of polling sites in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

After visiting polling stations, buses will return to the main conference venue for lunch.

Lunch
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Following a tour of polling sites throughout the Washington metropolitan area, International Foundation for Electoral Systems election specialists will lead informal lunchtime discussions with participants about what they observed and learned from the experience.

*3:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – No activities, down time prior to evening event

Joe C. Baxter Award and Election Night Reception
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
7:00 p.m. –10:00 p.m.

IFES will present the 2016 Joe C. Baxter Award to Chafik Sarsar, president of Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections, recognizing his contributions to the field of election administration. Sarsar’s leadership role at the forefront of the democratic transition in Tunisia paved the way for the conduct of elections that resulted in a peaceful transition of power. The annual Baxter Award recognizes the contributions of election professionals whose skills, dedication and sacrifices to the field of election administration epitomize the mission of IFES and embody the spirit of former IFES Senior Adviser for Election Administration Joe C. Baxter. Immediately following the presentation of the Baxter Award, IFES will host an evening reception featuring televised election coverage by major U.S. media networks. Conference participants, representatives of the global democracy and governance community, foreign dignitaries and other key stakeholders are invited to attend.

Following the presentation of the 2016 Baxter Award, IFES will host an evening of televised election coverage by major U.S. media networks for participants, representatives of the global democracy and governance community, foreign dignitaries and other key stakeholders.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Washington Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Breakfast Plenary: Women’s Leadership in the Electoral Process: 2016 and Beyond
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

The historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major political party, has renewed the discussion about the opportunities and obstacles that women face in electoral politics. Speakers at this breakfast briefing will evaluate the impact of this election cycle on increasing women’s leadership in the electoral process.

Moderator: Jessica Huber, Senior Gender Specialist, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Soraya Chemaly, Director, Speech Project, Women's Media Center
Jessica Grounds, Founder, Solid Grounds Strategy; Co-Creator; Project Mine the Gap; Former Director, Women Ready for Hillary
Emily Lampkin, Principal, The Lampkin Group; Member, Value in Electing Women Political Action Committee (VIEW PAC)

Morning Break
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom and Archives Room (exhibitors’ hall)
10:35 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.

Plenary: Election Review: Results, Reflections and Reactions
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

What were the takeaways from Election Day? How does the United States’ system (or systems) of elections compare with those in other countries? This session provides USEP participants the opportunity to reflect upon and share their experiences from Election Day poll watching in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Moderator: William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers: Open Mic

U.S. Election Program Closing Remarks
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
12:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:
William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Boxed Lunch
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

*U.S. Election Program concludes
*1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Free time prior to start of GEO Conference

Seventh Global Elections Organization (GEO-7) Conference Agenda

Wednesday, November 9 (continued)

Global Elections Organization Conference Opening Remarks: Welcome and Overview
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Speakers:
William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
GEO Partners

Plenary: Democracy's Uncertain State
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

At the end of the 1990s, democracy appeared poised to continue on a path of rapid global expansion in the new century ahead. A decade and a half later, democracy's global situation is fraught with trouble and uncertainty. Many new or struggling democracies are experiencing blockages and backsliding while older, established, democracies are roiled by new internal challenges and questioning of democratic values and processes. Alternatives to democracy have gained attention in many places. Why is democracy struggling widely? Are the problems of democracy across the developing and developed worlds basically similar or different? How can international actors committed to supporting democracy across borders find new ways to renew their work in this challenging context?

Keynote Speaker:
Thomas Carothers, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Global Elections Organization Conference Welcome Reception
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Night Owl Session: Mitigating Electoral Conflict and Strengthening Electoral Security
Supreme Court Room, meetings level 4
8:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

This is an optional session, intended for more intimate discussion of a technical topic. Please note that no language interpretation will be provided during this session.

Electoral violence is a global problem that can emerge out of post-conflict scenarios, ethnic or religious differences, long-standing rivalries of elaborate patronage networks, or in otherwise stable political situations. Research confirms that women are targeted in election violence at higher rates than male counterparts, especially as political candidates. This session will discuss recent research on this topic, as well as present innovative approaches to combat electoral violence that disproportionately impacts women’s equitable participation in elections and politics.

Presenters:
Jessica Huber, Senior Gender Specialist, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
Vasu Mohan, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Washington Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Continental Breakfast and Registration
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Plenary: Data Integrity and Voter Information: Preserving Transparency and Protecting Privacy
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Voter registration data, due to its size, detail and importance can often be managed more efficiently by electoral management bodies with information technology. The preserving of this data in electronic form and sharing it with political parties and other stakeholders both contributes to confidence building in the process, while also presenting some privacy challenges. This panel will explore the challenges that electoral authorities face in terms of public disclosure and discuss innovative solutions to increase transparency surrounding voter lists while preserving both individual and group privacy.

Moderator: Maarten Halff, Political and Electoral Affairs Officer, United Nations Electoral Assistance Division

Speakers:
Niall McCann, Lead Electoral Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Tova Wang, Senior Democracy Fellow, Demos
Lefterije Luzi (Lleshi), Chairperson, Central Election Commission of the Republic of Albania
William Davies, Executive Secretary, Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission

Morning Break
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom and Archives Room (exhibitors’ hall)
10:35 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.

Plenary: Social Media: How to Educate and Communicate with Election Stakeholders
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The fast growing penetration of the use of social media across the world is an indicator that social media has become the fastest growing means of outreach. It is projected that by 2018, 2.5billion people (one-third of the earth’s population) will be using one form of social media or the other. With this fast growing trend, the impact of the use of social media is felt in all sectors of public life. This makes it inevitable that the electoral process is impacted by this trend as well. It is therefore important to explore the possibilities of how electoral stakeholders can take advantage of the use of social media and at the same time manage the risks associated with the use social media in the electoral process.

Moderator: Zsolt Szolnoki, Secretary General, Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO)

Speakers:
Dr. Annette Fath-Lihic, Senior Programme Manager for Electoral Processes, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA),
Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director, Facebook
Chia-liang Kao, Co-founder, g0v.tw; Member, Open Data Advisory Committee, Taiwan's Central Election Commission
Ritvars Eglājs, Secretary, Central Election Commission of Latvia

Lunch
Mezzanine Level (one floor above lobby)
12:35 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

Plenary: Building Trust in Election Administration: Best Uses of Technology to Enhance Accountability and Credibility
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Electoral administration continues to be transformed by new technology and the ever increasing automation of electoral processes. From media monitoring and campaign finance oversight, to voting operations to results transmission, EMBs are utilizing technology in ways that enhance the transparency and integrity of elections. This panel will explore how properly deployed technology fosters increased accountability and trust in election outcomes.

Moderator: William R. Sweeney, President and CEO, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Speakers:
Lorenzo Cordova Vianello, President, National Electoral Institute of Mexico
Antonio Mugica, Chief Executive Officer and Director, SGO Smartmatic
Michael Hogan, Partner Operations for Civics and Elections, Google
Dr. Staffan Darnolf, Director, Program Development and Innovation, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Afternoon Break
Foyer outside Independence Ballroom and Archives Room (exhibitors’ hall)
3:35 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.

Plenary: Open Data and Elections: Expanding Opportunities for Transparency and Greater Integrity
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Open Data has great potential to increase the integrity of elections by granting all stakeholders equal and immediate access to election data. At the same time Open Election Data initiatives are often driven by civil society organizations while many EMBs are not yet ready to provide in-depth access to their data. This panel will discuss benefits and challenges of the use of data in elections and explore how EMBs can be encouraged and enabled to embrace and apply Open Data principles more widely.

Moderator: Peter Wolf, Technical Manager, Electoral Processes, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)

Speakers:
Liz Carolan, Associate, Open Data Institute (ODI)
Julia Brothers, Senior Program Manager for Elections and Deputy Director of the Open Election Data Initiative, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Olufunto Akinduro, Head of Elections and Political Processes, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA)
Hadar Nafis Gumay, Commissioner, National Election Commission of Indonesia

Global Elections Organization Conference Closing Remarks
Independence Ballroom, meetings level 4
5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Dr. Annette Fath-Lihic, Senior Programme Manager for Electoral Processes, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)