Conclusion and Annexes

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Elections


The experiences described above and in the case studies that follow illustrate that there are significant opportunities to use ADR mechanisms to resolve certain types of pre-election disputes. The beneficial characteristics of ADR in elections include the speed and relatively low cost of ADR, greater community involvement, enhanced opportunities for the participation of women and traditionally marginalized groups, and its potential for reducing tensions. On the other hand, there are risks in implementing ADR in elections—especially if they are not carefully planned, appropriately defined in the law, or given adequate resources and training. Risks include confusion between the ADR mechanism and conventional EDR processes, inconsistent outcomes, failure to account for power imbalances, a lack of impartiality and neutrality, challenges to fairness and due process, and dilution or over-delegation of the EMB’s responsibility. IFES will continue to develop training resources and educational materials on ADR to assist EMBs and other stakeholders in the planning, design, implementation, and improvement of ADR mechanisms in elections. There is also a clear need for further research and reporting on existing ADR efforts to build on this promising area of dispute resolution in elections. We encourage election academics, practitioners, and observers to collect and share information on the use of ADR in elections, as this remains one of the biggest challenges to learning from and strengthening informal justice mechanisms.