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IFES Announces Voluntary Election Integrity Guidelines for Technology Companies

Google, Meta, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Snap, and TikTok among supporters


SEOUL, KOREA—In a historic year for global elections, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in consultation with prominent election authorities and technology companies, has released Voluntary Election Integrity Guidelines for Technology Companies. With more than 70 countries holding national-level elections this year, these guidelines provide a shared set of expectations and practices for companies and election authorities as they work to advance election integrity and increase trust in the information ecosystem. The guidelines were released at the Summit for Democracy hosted by the Republic of Korea in Seoul.

The management of elections has been complicated by disinformation about voters’ rights and the voting process, online attacks (on officials, candidates, poll workers and the integrity of the process), calls for violence, cyberattacks on elections infrastructure and trustworthy information outlets, internet throttling, and disruptions and shutdowns on election day.

Different legal and regulatory regimes in countries around the world, varied use of technology products and services in different countries, different disinformation environments, and a multitude of languages underscore the need for more collaboration and communication presented barriers to cooperation between technology companies and election authorities in countries from every region of the world.

These guidelines will help establish a framework for meaningful engagement and support between election authorities and technology companies. They will establish clear policies and processes to share information around elections and ensure voters, especially those in newer, vulnerable democracies, have access to high-quality information. They will also improve communications channels between technology companies and election authorities, bolstering institutions while reducing barriers to supporting election integrity for smaller and newer companies who aim to be responsible actors around elections.

“Disinformation is the single gravest threat facing electoral integrity and democracy in many countries of the world, and that threat is just getting worse,” IFES CEO and President Tony Banbury said. “Election officials have a critical job—to build and sustain the trust of the voters in the integrity of the electoral process. To fulfill their mission, they need the cooperation of the technology sector.”

These guidelines aim to fortify elections and democracy, especially where most under threat, by engaging companies more fully in cooperating with election authorities in democracies that have not traditionally been prioritized by the technology sector.

“Every challenge we face in managing elections is made more difficult by the ways bad actors exploit technological change and advancements,” Mohammad Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius, said. “Strengthening the way we work and coordinate with technology companies will improve the integrity of elections, especially in smaller countries like Mauritius.”

“We are election officials, not technologists. As new threats continue to emerge, we are drowning in disinformation, online harm, and calls for violence,” Irena Hadžiabdić, president of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Central Election Commission, said. “Strong collaboration and communication between election officials and technology companies will give us the help we need to make sure our elections are free, fair, and secure.”

IFES’s efforts to facilitate engagement between election officials and technology companies to develop these guidelines were made possible with generous support from The Rockefeller Foundation.

“As billions of people go to the polls this year, it is more important than ever to protect voting rights and processes so everyone who wants to vote can be counted,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to have hosted a convening and supported this work which can help support democracy, especially where it is developing or vulnerable, at a time when it’s under threat in many ways.”

“We are grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for helping us shape the dialogue between election officials and the technology sector—bringing all parties to the table has been instrumental to creating a shared vocabulary and a plan of action to protect elections,” said IFES President Tony Banbury.

Representatives of major technology companies helped shape the guidelines and have expressed support for their launch and implementation.

“Google is committed to supporting elections integrity around the world by ensuring citizens have access to high quality authoritative information, helping election authorities and others operate securely, and preventing the spread of harmful content,” Dave Vorhaus, Director of Global Elections Integrity for Google, said. “This is a shared mission that requires strong partnerships between election officials and technology companies. These guidelines are an important step in furthering that mission, and we are proud to support them.”


“With so many crucial elections taking place this year and technologies evolving fast, our industry needs to work together to support election integrity, said Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta. “Meta has developed a comprehensive approach to protecting elections across our platforms over several years, but every cycle brings new challenges. These guidelines build on the work we've been doing and provide shared practices that will benefit both Meta and our peers.”

“In an election year pivotal for democracy, Microsoft is committed to empowering global electoral processes,” said Ginny Badanes, General Manager of Microsoft Democracy Forward. “Our collaboration with IFES and adoption of the Election Integrity Guidelines underscore our dedication to the integrity and inclusivity of elections, ensuring every vote counts. We’re eager to facilitate the expansion of this initiative, inviting more organizations to join this essential endeavor.”

“We are glad to have helped shape these guidelines, which are consistent with our longstanding approach to preventing the spread of misinformation, providing transparency in political advertising, and encouraging civic engagement,” said Kip Wainscott, Head of Platform Policy at Snap Inc. “Snapchat was designed differently than traditional social media platforms, which allows us to moderate content before it can be recommended for broad distribution and use human review on every political ad. The tech sector should be a critical partner in upholding the integrity of our elections and we encourage companies to adopt these important commitments.”

"We're proud to endorse these principles, which reflect our extensive investment in maintaining election integrity through our robust policies, educational campaigns, and partnerships with experts,” said Foard Copeland, Global Policy Lead for Elections & Civic Integrity, TikTok. “In such a historic election year, it's critical for our industry to collaborate with election authorities to protect against threats to civic processes."

These guidelines are a starting point for developing common language and processes for collaboration between election officials and the technology sector. Following the launch, IFES together with partners from the technology sector, election authorities and civil society will engage in a “Year of Action” to pursue progressive implementation of the guidelines.



The Voluntary Election Integrity Guidelines for Technology Companies launch event will be streamed live from the Summit for Democracy on MARCH 19, 2024, 4:30 PM SEOUL/3:30 AM WASHINGTON DC. View at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htpYz9ixMMI.


ABOUT IFES. IFES advances democracy for a better future. We collaborate with civil society, public institutions, and the private sector to build resilient democracies that deliver for everyone. As a global leader in the promotion and protection of democracy, our technical assistance and applied research develop trusted electoral bodies capable of conducting credible elections; effective and accountable governing stakeholders; civic and political processes in which all people can safely and equally participate; and innovative ways in which technology and data can positively serve elections and democracy. Since 1987, IFES has worked in more than 145 countries, from developing to mature democracies. Contact [email protected] for press inquiries.