BRIDGE module summaries
Introduction to Electoral Administration
The Introduction to Electoral Administration module is one of the three BRIDGE Foundation Modules. These Foundation Modules serve to introduce and examine the standards, principles and management techniques that are fundamental to effective electoral practice. The module also serves as a BRIDGE showcase and establishes the appropriate pedagogical and ethical framework for the rest of the modules. The module assesses criteria for free and fair elections; standards and principles of electoral administration, e.g. neutrality, accuracy, respect for the electoral law, professionalism, sustainability; codes of conduct for members of an Electoral Management Body (EMB), and broad electoral administrative information based upon the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network resources.
Strategic Planning for Electoral Management
The Strategic Planning for Electoral Management module provides an Electoral Management Body (EMB) with an overall vision of the entire strategic planning process. Participants gain an initial, general understanding of what strategic planning is; how the methodology is implemented; and the possible spectrum of intended achievements and benefits. If the EMB’s executive management decides to commit to a multi-year strategic planning process, the EMB is deemed ready to engage in the practical stage, to prepare and implement the strategic planning process. Part 2 of the module has been developed to help EMBs effectively implement this process.
Building Institutional Excellence in Elections
The Building Institutional Excellence in Elections module is an essential tool for EMBs wanting to build their institutional excellence. EMBs need to be resilient, agile, and robust institutions. Striving for institutional excellence in electoral administration is a multi-dimensional and complex endeavour that focuses on the structure and operation of the electoral institution rather than the electoral processes and delivery for which it is responsible. The module’s goal is to strengthen and protect EMBs and their reputations, assisting them to carry out their mandate with integrity and efficiency, so they can ultimately ensure the legitimacy of the electoral process.
Legal Framework and Reform
The Legal Framework and Reform module enables participants to explore the basic principles of law as it relates to electoral processes. The module targets non-lawyers who must work with the electoral law or are directly affected by it and is designed for electoral management body commissioners and staff, political party organisers and activists, civil society stakeholders involved in electoral processes, and individual consultants and trainers. The module considers both the nature and substance of an electoral legal framework and the practicalities and skills which may be needed in designing, conducting and engaging in processes of electoral reform – to which the legal framework is integral.
Electoral Dispute Resolution
The Electoral Dispute Resolution module aims to build participants’ understanding of the reasons why, and the ways in which, electoral dispute resolution is a critical part of the electoral process. The module considers: the bodies responsible for resolving electoral disputes; the legal and regulatory frameworks underpinning electoral dispute resolution; some of the mechanisms used for electoral dispute resolution and their advantages and disadvantages; accepted standards and principles for dealing with electoral disputes; and administration of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms and management of cases.
The Boundary Delimitation module explores the potential consequences of drawing (or not) electoral boundaries and identifying principles that lead to a fair and effective delimitation process when electoral district boundaries are created. Participants examine alternatives for structuring the boundary authority and analyse rules for carrying out the process. In addition, participants engage in a number of activities designed to familiarize them with the tasks involved in delimiting electoral boundaries.
The Electoral Systems module systematically examines electoral systems and underlying principles with an emphasis on the importance of fairness and equity of representation delivered by a system . The module focusses on the premise that the choice of an electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy. In almost all cases, the choice of a particular electoral system has a profound effect on the future political life of the country concerned. The module presents multiple potential electoral systems to participants, who are encouraged to explore the relative merits of systems against each of a group of contexts. Various systems are examined and evaluated, and participants can create a strategic electoral systems reform plan based on the understanding gained through the module and their specific circumstances.
The Operational Planning module’s intent is to support EMBs in conducting an operational planning process, to define the processes of the main stages involved in electoral operations and to analyse and establish the required operational support framework. In addition to the development of a comprehensive overall electoral plan, these processes require activities and sub-activities to be developed and elaborated on in detailed individual inputs from different EMB areas. In the module, the benefits for EMBs are drawn out in terms of accountability, building confidence, limiting risk and developing risk mitigation strategies.
Cyber Security and Disinformation
The Cyber Security and Disinformation module provides an opportunity for electoral professionals to consider the challenge of cyber security and disinformation as it applies to electoral administration. Participants examine the language of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to generate informed discussion about ICT security issues. Participants explore a range of cyber security threats that can impact on the delivery of electoral events; consider measuring the integrity of results and examine guidelines on the use of ICT security frameworks and practices.
The Voter Registration module examines the principles that underpin effective voter registration and the administrative and logistical considerations that need to be taken into account when developing and implementing a voter registration system. Several types of voter registration systems are presented to participants who are encouraged to explore the relative merits of each within their contexts. Participants work together to develop frameworks for a voter registration operational plan which can be used as the basis for any voter registration planning tools they wish to utilise in helping them to design and administer a fair, accessible and effective voter registration process for their context.
Election Day and Results Management
The Election Day and Results Management module specifically considers different aspects and approaches to these two core election activities. The module covers a variety of different voting, counting and results procedures with an emphasis on the principles of transparency, accuracy, detailed planning and service provision to voters. The module allows participants to develop approaches to the recruitment and training of staff, the design of polling station layouts and procedural manuals, and to explore results and reconciliation forms and a variety of action plans for releasing results.
Financing of Electoral Processes
The Financing of Electoral Processes module explores many of the general principles and standards of sound financial planning in electoral administration and processes. Financial planning underpins every aspect of the electoral process. This module provides an opportunity for participants to explore the elements that constitute electoral financial management practice and to explore and develop plans, budgets and funding request business cases for their own context.
Political Parties and Candidates
The Political Parties and Candidates module provides participants with an overview of the different types, characteristics and roles of political parties, giving participants an opportunity to reflect on the current situation in their own countries. Participants are given the opportunity to understand and discuss how different electoral systems affect both political parties and candidates, and the results of an election. The module intends to provide participants with a good understanding of the importance of the EMB as one of the main institutions responsible for regulating, monitoring, enforcing and controlling the operation of political parties and candidates.
Voter and Civic Education
The Voter and Civic Education module examines the definitions, rationale and principles that underpin voter information, civic and electoral education as well as the considerations that need to be taken into account when developing and implementing voter and civic education programs. This module also highlights the need to include an effective monitoring and evaluation strategy as well as appropriate documentation and archiving processes when designing and delivering electoral education and information programs.
Disability Rights and Elections
The Disability Rights and Elections module is designed for participants who work in EMBs, governments, donor agencies, Disabled Persons and Non Government Organisations (DPOs and NGOs), gender and disability specialists, as well as individual consultants and trainers, who are interested in access issues in relation to electoral processes. Access issues and inclusive practices potentially affect all aspects of an election. People with disabilities face numerous barriers to participation in political and electoral processes. This module examines principles, ideas and strategies for promoting and implementing inclusive participation in elections.
Gender Equality and Elections
The Gender Equality and Elections module examines how a person’s gender may impact access to electoral processes. Generally, this access is not equal, and women and minority groups can face significant barriers and greater challenges in electoral participation. This module aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to improve equitable participation in electoral processes. Participants learn to develop key strategies to overcome barriers to participation by exploring international standards and legal frameworks, temporary special measures, inclusive electoral management and gender-monitoring tools in electoral observation.
Media and Elections
The Media and Elections module explores the meaning of media and media freedoms, and the direct connection to the integrity of democratic elections. Participants will discuss an EMB’s role in relation to the media, and the media’s democratic role at different points in a typical electoral cycle. The module intends for participants to gain specific skills in negotiating and developing EMB-media relationships; creating communication plans and media kits for EMBs; organising public events, press conferences, press releases; and beginning and maintaining an active online and social media presence.
Train the Facilitator course
The Train the Facilitator course trains potential BRIDGE facilitators about BRIDGE materials and methodology so they can conduct module workshops and help further strengthen capabilities of EMBs and other electoral stakeholders. The course provides participants with the knowledge and experience to plan, organise, customise and conduct BRIDGE workshops and prepares participants to represent BRIDGE values and facilitate workshops to the required standards.