Election, conflict & security

All people safely participate in civic and political life without fear of violence

Violence and conflict in elections and political processes threaten lives and the integrity of any democracy. Electoral security is strengthened by a human-centered, holistic approach that covers the entire electoral process and adheres to international standards and norms. IFES helps key stakeholders to understand, prevent and address the root causes of violence and conflict in political and electoral processes. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience working in dozens of post-conflict transitions, IFES has developed several conflict-sensitive electoral security approaches and tools. 

IFES approaches to electoral conflict and security include: 

  • Collecting and analyzing data on online and offline election violence. 
  • Supporting electoral management bodies (EMBs) and security forces on electoral security planning.  
  • Working with EMBs and CSOs to counter disinformation, hate speech and incitement to violence, with targeted focuses on hate speech and violence against women, minorities, persons with disabilities and historically marginalized groups. 
  • Assisting diverse stakeholders to build a more inclusive and pluralist notion of citizenship and national identity. 
  • Conducting research and developing tools to prevent violence in electoral and political processes. 

IFES conflict-sensitive electoral security approaches and tools include: 

  • Electoral Violence Education and Resolution (EVER), deployed to reduce election violence through monitoring and reporting. 
  • People Against Violence in Elections (PAVE), a series of trainings designed to help participants identify root causes of electoral violence; develop skills to foster dialogue; cooperate on nonpartisan projects between opposing groups to diffuse tension where possible; promote social harmony and a nonviolent political culture; become “peace ambassadors” who prevent, detect, deter and/or mitigate electoral violence. 
  • PAVE Youth, a version of the PAVE program targeting young adult voters, civic and voter educators and peace ambassadors. 
  • Violence Against Women in Elections Framework (VAWE) framework, which helps electoral stakeholders address violence against women throughout the electoral cycle using a full set of mutually reinforcing tools. 
  • Enabling a Peaceful Environment to Administer Credible Elections (e-Peace), electoral security training for election officials and law enforcement officers, encouraging collaboration and shared responsibility between all stakeholders and upholding human-rights principles. It includes a how-to-establish a Joint Electoral Security Operations Center module. 

Focus Areas

IFES joins with others to tackle the most pressing issues for democracy and elections today.