The “Regional Elections Administration and Political Processes Strengthening Program (REAPPS) I” (2013-18) was designed with support from the United States Agency for International Development to address common challenges among Central and Eastern European and Eurasian societies. These included defining the role of government, fostering political pluralism, stimulating civic participation and channeling internal conflict through political institutions to produce democratic outcomes to the challenges faced by transitioning democracies within Europe and Eurasia.
REAPPS II programming (2018-23) will focus on developing and strengthening democratic leadership skills among politically active young people from political parties and civil society; increasing government oversight, political participation and especially institutional and public resilience to anti-democratic foreign influences; and strengthening election administration leadership and effectiveness. The goal of this regional program is to promote cross-border learning and networking on a wide range of existing initiatives and to develop new capacity in political participation, government transparency and election administration. The Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening’s proposed geographic scope is the Balkans region, Central Europe, including the Baltics, and former Soviet Union countries participating in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership.
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will focus on strengthening the leadership, integrity and institutional independence of election management bodies (EMBs); building their capacity to deliver elections with integrity despite increasing cybersecurity risks; educating citizens to be more aware of credible information and disinformation in elections; building civil society capacity to detect and advocate around political party finance irregularities, including foreign funding; and supporting electoral justice systems to promote effective arbitration of electoral processes. As a result, these countries will be able to more effectively mitigate new and emerging threats to deliver genuine, democratic, and credible elections.
Key proposed IFES activities for REAPPS II:
- Deploy biannual election cybersecurity and cyber hygiene trainings in partnership with Tallinn Technical University and potentially the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. This will allow EMBs to understand the critical challenges that they face and develop basic skills to mitigate key risks and vulnerabilities in this important and quickly changing space.
- Develop disinformation trainings for EMBs and civil society organizations to develop understanding of and resilience to disinformation campaigns and foreign influence campaigns in elections.
- Monitor political finance and anti-corruption efforts through legal framework and political finance oversight.
- Strengthen the leadership, integrity and institutional independence of EMBs through IFES Executive Curriculum in Electoral Leadership (iEXCEL) trainings; leadership programs for citizens in the electoral field; and technology-strengthening workshops, especially related to protecting elections’ cybersecurity.
- Support electoral justice systems to promote effective and fair investigation and arbitration of electoral processes by supporting the annual Europe and Eurasia electoral jurisprudence network and annual meetings and conducting cross-national Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) trainings on election dispute resolution.
- Strengthen the rule of law and support voter education by providing technical assistance to stakeholders and assistance with voter education and media outreach.