Key findings: Electoral support interventions by international actors comprise primarily of electoral observation and electoral assistance. Electoral observation should be of an impartial nature based on the principle of non-interference. Electoral assistance, in contrast, is of an advisory nature and refers to technical or material support to electoral processes. It may be provided during all phases of the electoral circle and it can be directed at a broad range of activities and at a wide range of electoral stakeholders.
The international community has moved toward an understanding that electoral assistance and observation should not be focused purely upon the election day and immediate lead-up to elections. Rather, elections should be seen as a sequential process or cycle involving a long series of steps. Despite the investment in electoral events and in electoral support, there is very limited discussion in the literature on specific approaches to measuring the performance of electoral events. In addition, there is broad consensus that monitoring and evaluation remains the most neglected and underdeveloped component of electoral support programmes.
This report is divided into three main parts. The first part looks at ‘Approaches to measuring the performance of electoral events’, drawing on:
- social surveys;
- expert indices and measures;
- public international law measures;
- Elkit and Reynolds framework;
- OAS Index of democratic elections.
The second part explores ‘Approaches to donor evaluation of electoral support’, briefly discussing:
- logical framework approach;
- country impact studies;
- participatory evaluation approach;
- mixed approach;
- social surveys;
- programme theory evaluation.
The last part of this report provides a range of lists/examples of indicators for measuring electoral events and evaluating donor support. Similar indicators are often applied for the two tasks.