Recent political uncertainty in Bolivia drew attention to the importance of supporting and preserving democracy in the country. IFES worked in Bolivia in 2020 under the rapid response project, Support for Free and Transparent Elections in Bolivia. This project was initiated following the controversial 2019 presidential election and a political crisis that led to the resignation of then President Evo Morales, along with several other government officials from the Movement Towards Socialism party (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS).
During this project, IFES worked directly with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to address key issues encountered during the 2019 elections, with the goal of supporting technical improvements to increase transparency and public trust in the electoral system. IFES assisted in updating and standardizing poll worker training materials and supported cascade trainings to ensure that over 200,000 poll workers were well-instructed and could manage polling operations smoothly and consistently across all departments. IFES also aided the TSE’s technology team in the implementation and testing of the new results transmission systems. IFES worked alongside the TSE’s communication team to provide advice on strategic communications and liaised with technical teams to ensure the transmission of straightforward and streamlined information to voters about the technical and regulatory changes to the electoral processes. This support included the creation 21 training videos on key polling procedures and election concepts in Spanish, Bolivian Sign Language, Quechua, Aymara and Guarani. The support provided by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) and IFES has laid a foundation that will help safeguard the integrity of future Bolivian elections.