Elections are a core process within a democracy. They provide opportunities for important debate on the future of a country.
Credible elections help make sure everyone gets to have a say in how their society is run and help make sure everyone has the chance to influence change for the better.
What is more, credible electoral processes increase the legitimacy of political institutions. They can also improve levels of trust in elected representatives. But the credibility or integrity of an electoral process does not depend on the voting day alone. Electoral integrity is also affected by how inclusive, transparent, and accountable the other stages of the broader electoral process are.
WFD supports electoral integrity around the world. We do this by encouraging analysis and research around electoral processes throughout the electoral cycle. We also organise election observation missions and deploy election observers to ODIHR Election Observation missions to further contribute to the integrity of elections worldwide.
WFD offers support to partners at all phases of the electoral cycle: before, during and after the election period. We help countries to:
- Analyse the electoral environment
- Implement recommendations from election observation reports
- Provide technical advice
- Establish ways to include everybody in elections through education and laws
- Analyse the cost of politics by researching campaign finance legislation
- Prevent violence against women during elections
To do this, we work with:
- election management bodies
- civil society organisations
- political parties
- the executive
- the judiciary
- legislative institutions (parliaments)
We also engage with regional networks as well as supporting and promote south-south cooperation.
Recent WFD activities in our elections portfolio include a UK Election Expert Mission to Kosovo which analysed the electoral process during the February 2021 snap elections in the country; a Limited Election Observation Mission to Somaliland (led by University College London and supported by WFD); a long term Election Expert Mission to the Philippines in March 2022 with a focus on the information environment as well as a long term Election Expert Mission to Kenya from April to September 2022 with a focus on IT preparedness; and a citizen observation exercise by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in North Macedonia which assessed the extent to which elections there were accessible to people with disabilities.
Our electoral integrity approach
Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) employs an election cycle approach to monitor and assess ongoing events from voter registration and party primaries to the appointment of election management bodies and legislative electoral reform. WFD uses this approach to contextualise emerging trends and challenges and their potential impacts on electoral integrity.
WFD’s electoral integrity approach also uses critical junctures across the election cycle as opportunities to explore participatory inclusion, media and social media influence, and civic engagement, and to think about how incremental changes can support improvements not just ahead of a looming poll, but across multiple election cycles.
On behalf of the United Kingdom, WFD recruits international election observers for OSCE observation missions and we carry out observation and advisory missions directly. WFD also provides regular training for both long-term and short-term observers.
Tanja Hollstein - Head of Practice
Tanja Hollstein is an elections and democratisation expert with 16 years of relevant experience in post-conflict and transition countries.