The “North Macedonia Electoral Support Activity” continues the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) dedicated, long-term electoral technical support to election management bodies (EMBs). Specifically, IFES provides technical assistance to EMBs in administering electoral processes through customized training of election officials and tailored education materials and by providing expertise in key areas of electoral reform. The primary focus has been to support election management and administration, especially for the country’s 2018 referendums, 2019 presidential election and 2020 parliamentary elections. One key element of IFES programming under this award is supporting North Macedonia’s political finance oversight institution to streamline political finance regulation best practices and encourage further reforms.
Voter Information Management System
Through this intervention IFES has helped to deliver a long-term, sustainable solution that will allow the State Election Commission (SEC) to manage the voter register and fulfill its obligations under the Electoral Code. The project also provides assistance to synchronize data between the Ministry of Interior and the SEC’s Voter Register, update voter information records, register new voters, track changes made to records for auditing purposes and generate accurate voter lists per electoral district, municipality or polling station. During elections, IFES assists in improving accuracy of the voter register by working with authorities to add photos and local languages to the voter lists.
Training and Capacity Building
To further enhance SEC capacity, IFES supports all levels of EMBs by increasing their knowledge and training and improving training materials and delivery. For example, IFES assisted in expanding the SEC pool of trainers and updating and disseminating poll worker training materials ahead of the presidential, local and parliamentary elections. Further, IFES will improve electoral stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise of international commitments and best practices in election management and administration.
To further SEC performance and effectiveness, IFES works with the SEC to assess relevant legal and institutional frameworks and realize its full potential and competency through desk research, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and analysis involving all levels of election administration, including SEC regional offices. The results serve as a basis for SEC to revise its structure and staffing needs to better respond to the electoral environment.
Innovation and Modernization
IFES assists the SEC in developing and updating innovative tools to foster more transparent and effective interaction between the SEC, political parties and voters. This includes development of an application for out-of-country voter registration and a tracking system for processing complaints and appeals. IFES also provides tailored support to the SEC in using existing tools and systems to implement electoral operations, including maintaining the voter register, aligning them with the national information and communication technology strategy and creating voter lists during elections.
Monitoring and Analysis of Political Finance
To ensure that oversight bodies and electoral stakeholders fulfill their international commitments and practices, IFES works closely with key bodies such as the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Ministry of Finance and civil society organizations to increase their capacity to monitor political party funding and spending and increase transparency and accountability in public spending.