Since 1995, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has conducted a range of assistance activities to support the development of democratic elections and political processes in Georgia. The work of IFES has improved electoral legislation and election administration; propelled discussions on constitutional and election system reform; strengthened civil society and media; supported political finance reform and implementation of regulations; increased participation and enfranchisement of marginalized groups; introduced a civic education course now taught in over 40 universities; increased transparency and women’s political engagement; supported a diverse array of civic and voter education projects; and enhanced the accuracy of and confidence in the voter registry.
While the 2012-14 election cycle demonstrated Georgia’s renewed democratic development, several challenges remain that limit the electoral system’s effectiveness and citizens’ level of inclusive participation in the political process. To address these issues, IFES is conducting a multiyear project funded by the United States Agency for International Development, “Georgia Elections and Political Processes Support” (EPPS), which seeks to bolster the electoral legal framework and election administration practices while engaging citizens in election awareness and activism. In doing so, EPPS employs innovative methodologies to target underrepresented populations, including women, youth, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities to promote a demand-driven approach to focused, sustainable assistance.
Under IFES’ Regional Europe program, Georgia is engaged in a number of activities designed to continue support to election administration. This includes building capacity in cybersecurity and elections through IFES’ Regional Election Technology and Cyber-Hygiene course developed for election management bodies and other electoral stakeholders. Through the Europe and Eurasia Election Management Body Working Group on Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity, Georgian election officials are addressing key challenges to information integrity in the electoral process.