BRIDGE workshop for improving voter registration in Moldova

6 December 2011

The voter registration process in Moldova is complex, and no institution – not even the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) – has full and complete responsibility or control over the process. The CEC has undertaken a large amount of work on the IT infrastructure necessary for voter registration since 2008, with the support of the UNDP ‘Electoral Support to Moldova’ (ESM) project. However, only in 2011 has the CEC been able to – and had the time to – look at the underlying causes of poor register quality, rather than the delivery mechanism.

CEC of Moldova, with the assistance of IFES, has set up a Voters’ Lists Working Group that includes CEC and other key voter registration partners as well as main development partners UNDP, Council of Europe and IFES. Part of the working group’s Action Plan has been to develop a shared understanding of voter registration issues and international voter registration standards and practices, in part through the delivery of a one week BRIDGE workshop.

CEC of Moldova, with the joint assistance of IFES and UNDP, held BRIDGE Voter Registration workshop for the stakeholders during November 21-25, 2011 at Summit Conference Center in Chisinau, Moldova. In total 19 participants attended the workshop: the members and staff of the CEC (Legal, IT, Training and Civic Education, Elections and Referendums departments), staff from Registru (the state body responsible for the population register), Cadastral (the state agency responsible for a national address database), representatives of local public administrations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, member of Parliament.

The facilitation team met one week before the workshop: Natia Kashakashvili (expert lead facilitator), Doina Bordeianu (workshop lead facilitator from the CEC), Pavel Cabacenco (workshop lead facilitator from IFES) and Ludmila Bârsa (semi-accredited facilitator from CEC). The facilitation team was boosted by the guest speaker, voter registration expert from IFES, Mr. Steven Canham.

During the one week preparation, the facilitation team worked hard to make all the necessary arrangements to prepare for the workshop. Moldovan lead facilitators Pavel and Doina showed immense skills of mentoring fellow co-facilitator Ludmila, who herself had vast experience of BRIDGE style operational trainings, though was engaging into the BRIDGE facilitation first time after her TtF. Ludmila has adapted several activities per the Moldova and group needs (which she was always agreeing with the lead facilitators) and her preparedness for the sessions was astonishing. Therefore I would say that successful completion of Ludmila’s accreditation as the workshop facilitator is, first of all, the result of her very hard work, but secondly, dedicated mentoring from Pavel and Doina. Congratulations to the BRIDGE Moldova Team for acquiring another asset to the team, which itself is doing such a great job delivering the BRIDGE workshops on a very high standard. I would therefore evaluate the BRIDGE Moldova Facilitators’ Team to be self-sustainable and an expert team.

The Agenda of the workshop was tailored so to respond the needs of the target group, therefore following topics were selected from the Voter Registration extended Module: Voter Registration Principles, Franchise criteria, Types of Voter Register, Legal Framework for voter registration, Elements of good Voter Register, Principles of Elections and Technology, Use of IT in Voter Registration, Data Management and Security, Compiling Registration Data, Dealing with the changes to the Voter Register, Voters’ List Audit, Operational framework of Voter Registration and Voter Education in Voter Registration process.

The Voter Registration workshop was opened by the chairman of the CEC of Moldova Dr. Iurie Ciocan, who spoke about the importance of the workshop. Kate Sullivan, Chief Technical Advisor to the Central Electoral Commission UNDP Electoral Support to Moldova and Steven Gray, IFES Country Director welcomed the participants and pointed out importance of the BRIDGE Voter Registration workshop to the further improvement of the quality of the voter’s lists in Moldova. The participants from the different agencies were able to interact with each other and better understand their roles as well as all the topics presented during the five-day workshop.

Final evaluation of the participants showed that the workshop was a real success. It was characterized as interesting, intensive, active, relevant, important and useful. Most of them said that the knowledge gained during the workshop will help them in their daily activities and will contribute to a better quality of the voter’s list in Moldova. The workshop also helped to establish a better collaboration between representatives of different departments and governmental agencies. Participants highly appreciated the interactive methodology of the BRIDGE, which helped them learn a lot of new information in a short period of time.

Some of the Participants’ Feedback:

“The workshop was intensive and interesting – a real active learning experience”;

“The workshop was very useful for us – those who are working towards improving of the voter’s lists within a Voter’s List Working Group; it will also contribute to a better collaboration with colleagues from other departments and governmental institutions”;

“I am very much satisfied and happy that I took part in this workshop. I gained very useful knowledge through this course which will help me in my daily duties”;

“BRIDGE interactive methodology helped me to learn a lot in short period of time”;

“All presented topics were interesting and relevant as well as forms and methods of training. It was a good combination: we studied existent local and international voter register practices as well as simulated some concrete situations”;

“It will be great to implement the audit of the voter’s lists and use existing practices to up-date voter’s lists in Moldova”.

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