British Academy report: How to hold elections safely and democratically during the COVID-19 pandemic

British Academy report: How to hold elections safely and democratically during the COVID-19 pandemic
Governments should consider innovative measures such as widely distributing polling stations to safeguard democratic processes during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the key recommendation from the British Academy’s new briefing on elections, published on 19 August, which WFD colleagues and partners contributed to. 

people queuing at a polling station
20 August 2020
Theme
Introduction
Governments should consider innovative measures such as widely distributing polling stations to safeguard democratic processes during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is the key recommendation from the British Academy’s new briefing on elections, published on 19 August, which WFD colleagues and partners contributed to. 

Drawing upon existing experience of elections held during the COVID-19 pandemic and previous health crises, the briefing identified five key areas of vulnerabilities:

  • inclusive and accountable electoral management;
  • poll worker safeguarding;
  • interinstitutional collaboration;
  • feasible and effective election observation;
  • risk of electoral violence.

WFD’s Senior Elections Adviser, Tanja Hollstein, contributed to the section on Election Observation, formulating challenges facing international election observation under COVID-19, and supported the development and analysis of new ideas to build back better after the crisis.  

The British Academy sets out several recommendations aimed at administrators, observers and electoral assistance providers on how to maximise electoral integrity, even within a pandemic environment.