Council on Foreign Relations Consults IFES on Pandemic Elections


A voter casts her ballot during the municipal elections in Kikla, Libya, on August 25.

To examine how other countries’ electoral experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic can guide preparations in the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations interviewed International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Senior Research Officer Fernanda Buril and Senior Global Electoral Operations and Administration Advisor Staffan Darnolf. The primer, published on Thursday, September 17, cites IFES’ research on election postponements, adjusted election dates and risk-mitigating strategies adopted during elections, resources that IFES continues to update regularly.

“While more than sixty countries postponed voting, dozens of others, including Burundi, France, and South Korea, went forward with their elections. … Many countries required voters to wear masks, according to research by IFES, since wearing masks has been shown to significantly decrease the chance of infection.”

The author also cites IFES’ recommendations for safely holding elections amid the pandemic.

“‘Just providing different remote options on how to vote can also help minimize conglomerations and the risk of person-to-person transmission,’ says Fernanda Buril … These four IFES reports explain how to hold elections during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Published on September 18, 2020.

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