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EFOR will monitor all four rounds of elections in 2024

The year 2024 will be complicated in terms of elections at the global level, as it is estimated that half of the world’s population will vote. Romania will hold four rounds of elections, which is a first. This will put a huge strain on the election administration and test public confidence in the electoral process. The lack of legislative clarity and the lack of an Electoral Code will bring significant impediments to the organization of these processes. Last but not least, the potential low voter turnout, including for reasons related to this large number of electoral campaigns, may significantly affect the outcome of the elections and the electoral competition. The 2024 elections for the European Parliament are the first in this series, and citizens’ perceptions of their organization are important for confidence in the electoral processes that follow.
Over the past 10 years, EFOR has built and refined an impactful observation methodology for elections. We have been monitoring elections since 2014, have released election monitoring reports – together with other civil society partners such as the FiecareVot Coalition – and have built on these to contribute to improved practices in all types of elections. Some examples are reducing the number of signatures required to set up a party, introducing advance voting, extending voting beyond 21:00, or drawing attention to issues of political financing. The information we gathered has been used by institutions or political parties to support draft laws. In 2019, data collected by EFOR and partners with the help of observers was presented at parliamentary hearings on election integrity and publicly contradicted the unjustified premises of the commission investigating fraud in the EP elections. In the end, we were proved right and SIMPV had not been used incorrectly to alter the results. We also released thematic technical reports on campaign financing, women’s participation in elections or the use of alternative voting methods. After each of these elections we debated with the relevant institutions to improve the process. And even if we haven’t always succeeded – it is, after all, a political decision – we will continue to strive for elections that are as fair, competitive, inclusive and transparent as possible. You can read our election reports here.
In 2024 we aim to continue our election observation and even expand the areas we cover in more detail, such as election technologies, online advertising or the use of open data in the electoral process. We will look at issues that have the potential to significantly affect elections such as extremist discourse, misinformation or the expansion of election campaigns online and how they are funded. We also aim to work with international organisations that will observe the elections, such as the OSCE/ODIHR, to share as much of our experience and expertise as possible.
Thus, in 2024, we will address the following topics:
Financing of political parties and election campaignsIn recent years, EFOR has become one of the main sources of information on political financing. We have covered topics such as the allocation and use of subsidies and their effects on media independence, the annual financing of political parties, the financing of electoral campaigns and oversight, and the use of open data to increase the transparency of political finance. We have consistently called for integrity and transparency from institutions, parties and all other actors involved in the process. Furthermore, we have developed the only platform illustrating the history of political financing in Romania since 2006 at www.banipartide.ro.In 2024:

  • We will monitor allocations of  state subsidies and spending;
  • We will monitor the work of the Permanent Electoral Authority, the Court of Accounts and political parties and organise meetings to better understand how they do their work in this area;
  • We will monitor the transparency of political funding – we will continue our series of annual reports looking at party funding. These reports have become an annual tradition since 2021 and highlight the main trends from previous years. In 2024, the report will be very relevant, especially as party funding is directly linked to campaign funding;
  • We will monitor online political/electoral advertising – topics and spending;
  • We will work with journalists and citizens interested in monitoring this topic;
  • We will publish monitoring reports.

Monitor legislation and advocate for rules that are as clear and predictable as possible.

We will follow the legislative process (Parliament, Government, the PEA, electoral commissions, etc.) and intervene through legal instruments and public statements whenever necessary. Monitoring activities are designed to ensure that legislation complies with international standards and constitutional principles and does not restrict voters’ rights in any way. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the recommendations from previous elections – see also the database of election recommendations.

Monitoring the election administration

We will observe how the election administration works (the PEA, electoral commissions, other institutions involved in the process) and how the preparations for the elections take place. We will attend events, technical meetings or meetings of various institutions. We will ensure that its functioning respects some key principles: integrity, legality, effectiveness, independence, impartiality, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.

Observing gender equality in politics and elections

EFOR is one of the few organisations that has monitored elections and political processes from the perspective of women’s participation and has advocated positive measures to encourage women to participate as actively as possible. During the 2020 elections, we were the only organisation that analysed and processed the little existing data on women’s participation in the electoral process and published detailed reports on the issue, reflecting visible violations of the law (Women in the 2020 local elections or Policy brief on political representation of women in Romania). These data allowed us to conclude that the share of women in politics is low and that the law is systematically violated; in the local elections, almost 5% of the lists should not have been accepted as they violate the law. Our data have been used by Parliament and other public institutions.

So we plan to continue to collect data, put pressure on the authorities to publish detailed information on candidates and ask political parties to include more women in eligible seats.

Accreditation of observers and publication of observation reports with the VotCorect Coalition

We will continue our traditional work of accrediting observers. So far we have worked with over 4000 observers, as EFOR or in partnership with other organisations (e.g. the FiecareVot Coalition). EFOR will prepare the accreditation of observers together with partners in the VotCorect Coalition, which we have set up for the 2024 elections. You will be able to follow the work of the coalition on the www.votcorect.ro platform.

We also aim to:

  • Develop the www.votcorect.ro platform for the registration and training of election observers
  • Accreditation of election observers – The coalition will accredit independent, non-partisan observers in polling stations in country and abroad.
  • Training of accredited observers – We will provide online and offline training in several cities across the country. We will develop a manual for observers and a set of observation sheets for collecting data from polling stations, which will be collected using the Vote Monitor application (developed by Code4Romania). EFOR is the only organisation to have made the Observer’s Handbook public in previous elections so that it can be used by others, and the practice will continue in 2024.
  • Election day monitoring in polling stations in country and abroad – We are not planning to cover all polling stations. In 2019, during the EP elections, we covered 3,000 polling stations with 1,200 observers. EFOR will provide electoral assistance to observers and guide them in resolving any incidents of violations.
  • Publication of monitoring reports – After each election, we will publish a monitoring report on the electoral process, including an assessment of the organisation of the elections and recommendations for improvement. During the electoral process, the core team collects information on technical issues, including from visits to institutions that have a role in the electoral process. The report is distributed to all relevant institutions and contains conclusions on the organisation of the elections and recommendations for improvement of the process, in line with international standards. The reports are launched at public events, to which representatives of the main public institutions managing the electoral process – the Permanent Electoral Authority, representatives of the electoral offices, the Special Telecommunications Service, the Ministry of Interior and other institutions, parliamentarians, candidates, media, partners or other persons interested in the subject will be invited.

Electoral assistance for voters, observers and all those interested

  • Assisting those in need during the election period has been one of EFOR’s priorities since 2014. In 2024, it will remain one of our priorities. To start with, we will update the www.votcorect.ro platform and organise an information campaign on the technical rules of the electoral process. The election assistance center consisting of the VotCorect platform and a call centre will provide constant updates on the organisation of the elections, provide and publish answers to voters’ frequently asked questions and debunk the main misinformation themes about the elections in real time. On Election Day we will provide electoral assistance to voters and observers via the Telverde 0800 080 200 service (and an overseas version), operated by legal and electoral experts. We will react quickly to any voting irregularities and refer complaints to the relevant institutions where appropriate. As a reminder, during the 2019 EP elections, more than 1200 people left complaints or asked questions to the team. The information campaign will include tools such as interactive maps that will allow voters to identify candidates or a database of all candidates since 2004.

Other topics of interest to EFOR

  • Use of open data in electoral processes
  • Monitoring electoral technologies
  • Protection of personal data in electoral processes

Follow EFOR’s databases in the 2024 elections

www.banipartide.ro – political finance since 2006

 

Election candidates – candidates since 2004

 

Election recommendations – all election related recommendations since 2009

 

For any questions related to the election observation campaign you can contact Septimius Pârvu, Election Programme Coordinator at [email protected] or 0787.638.315.


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