Electoral leadership

Electoral leaders effectively manage challenges, build public trust and foster independent and resilient institutions

While credible elections are essential for resilient democracies, seriously flawed or failed elections pose a potent risk to political stability and democracy. IFES supports electoral leaders to effectively navigate political pressure; deliver elections in a crisis; and foster institutional independence, resilience and capacity. Our training programs and resources for electoral leaders include a proven, high-impact, executive leadership curriculum; peer engagement and networking opportunities; and technical assistance focused on ethical leadership, strategic communications, and crisis and risk management. IFES’ unique capacity-building approach is bolstered by a roster of former executive and senior election officials with decades of comparative electoral leadership experience.

Conducting credible elections, sustaining quality electoral processes over time and demonstrating resilience in the face of a crisis requires effective leadership. Strong electoral leadership is also essential to resolve protracted challenges that prevent meaningful electoral reform, undermine the independence of election institutions and subvert the electoral process.

New challenges have vastly changed the playing field for election leaders and election management bodies (EMBs). Malign and self-serving actors who seek to manipulate and undermine elections are increasingly nimble in leveraging social media and technology. Election leaders need innovative approaches and greater capacity to respond effectively. As with other complex organizations, it is essential to build a leadership culture that provides direction and inspires commitment throughout the EMB to carry out its mandate efficiently, effectively and in accordance with a coherent set of values, and to address any challenges that arise.

Explore our resources linked here to learn more and get involved.

Pull Quote Text
“The training has really opened my eyes – especially in terms of crisis management – in terms of [the need for] central communication in handling crisis. For me, the most important takeaway has been the importance of people pulling together in crisis and ensuring that everyone knows what is happening so that [issues] are actually solved from a team point of view.”
Election official, Africa


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IFES Democratic Resilience Lab

IFES designs, tests and deploys innovative strategies and capabilities to strengthen democratic resilience and counter backsliding and authoritarianism.

Focus Areas

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