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Publication | Report/Paper

IFES Election Case Law Analysis Series: Lessons on the Use of Technology in Elections

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Given that public trust can be severely undermined by poor understanding of election technology, it is vital that there is maximum transparency around both election technology and the dispute resolution process. This requires the EMB to communicate as much information as possible to all stakeholders about the technology in use at all stages of an election

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in 2021, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) launched ElectionJudgments.org, a database for national election judgments from around the world. IFES has used this database to conduct an initial analysis of select judgments that involve the use of technology in elections by Election Management Bodies (EMBs).

These cases show that with the constant evolution of technology and its use in elections, judges and judicial officials need to understand how technology is being used in voter and candidate registration, voter identification, the voting or counting process, and results tabulation and transmission, and re-assess both the conduct of proceedings and the availability of effective judicial orders and remedies. It is also essential that other election stakeholders — in particular parties, candidates and their agents — have a thorough understanding of election technology so they can support well-founded complaints.

To facilitate the exchange of sound precedents across jurisdictions, IFES has used the ElectionJudgments.org database to conduct an initial analysis of critical judgments on a variety of topics, presented in an Election Case Law Analysis Series, which has been developed thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). This paper is the third in this series, focused on the resolution of electoral disputes that concern the use of election technology. Prior issues in the series are below:

Issue 1: Lessons on Gender Equality and Women’s Political Participation

Issue 2: Lessons for Regulating Campaigning on Social Media

The ElectionJudgments.org database is updated periodically. To contribute judgments or resources, please use the appropriate form here or contact us via our website.

Authors: Ronan McDermott, Rebecca Cox, Typhaine Roblot

Contributor: Catherine Murphy