Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation

About Electoral Observation Missions

Why are OAS Electoral Observation Missions important?

  • They are one of the instruments the OAS can draw on to promote and consolidate democracy in the Americas.
  • They establish a clear commitment—to the government and to the people—to strengthen the principle of holding free, periodic elections.
  • They are viewed as an impartial and independent entity, capable of making concrete contributions to improve the electoral process.

Basic Observation Principles

  • Objectivity and neutrality
  • Respect for the domestic laws of the host country
  • Non-substitution of national stakeholders

Objectives of OAS Electoral Observation Missions

  • Observe the actions of the key players in the electoral process in order to verify compliance with election laws in effect in the host country; analyze the development of election laws in the host country; analyze the unfolding of the electoral process in the context of standards adopted by the OAS member states; and take note of what has been observed and inform the Secretary General and the Permanent Council.
  • Work with governmental and electoral authorities, as well as citizens in general, to ensure the impartiality, transparency, and reliability of the electoral process.
  • Foster a climate of public confidence and encourage citizen participation.
  • Serve as a conduit to find and build on points of consensus in conflict situations involving different participants in the electoral process, should this be necessary.
  • Make recommendations to help improve the electoral system.
  • Show international support and inter-American solidarity for an impartial, transparent, and reliable electoral process.