Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation

Electoral Technical Cooperation Section

The mandate of this area is specified in Chapter V, Article 23, of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which establishes that “member states, in the exercise of their sovereignty, may request that the Organization of American States provide advisory services or assistance for strengthening and developing their electoral institutions and processes, including sending preliminary missions for that purpose.”

The specific aim of the Electoral Technical Cooperation Section is to help modernize and improve the quality of services that electoral management bodies provide to citizens, and to strengthen their institutional capacity to hold elections that are free, fair, and transparent.

Cooperation on these matters is carried out in two ways:
  • By developing and directly providing advisory services and specialized technical cooperation to governments and electoral bodies in the hemisphere.
  • By fostering horizontal cooperation among the region’s electoral management bodies, serving as a facilitator and promoting mutual learning through the exchange of experts and information.

Electoral Computing

Design, support, guidance, and analysis related to computing processes such as the design and creation of information systems to purge ineligible voters, including procedural changes and adaptations to improve information and control over the electoral roll. Support in the transmission of election results through advisory assistance in the development of electronic systems to tally votes and transmit, present, and publish election results.

Electoral Statistics

Planning, coordination, stratification, and gathering of statistics, analysis of statistical samples, and preparation of reports on electoral rolls.

Registration/Electoral Roll

Analysis of the quality of the information contained in electoral roll databases. Integration of security mechanisms in the civil registry system, in applications, databases, and networks, as well as in telecommunications. Implementation of effective strategies that allow purges, data updates, and voter registration at the national level.

Decentralization of the Vote

Analysis of national decentralization plans for polling stations and how they fit into the administrative structure, mainly in terms of temporary electoral management bodies at the departmental, municipal, and polling station level. Design of new electoral strategies that take into account the new challenges that emerge from electoral reforms, mainly as they relate to decentralization.

Electoral Mapping

Collection, verification, validation, update, and entry of mapping information in the electoral management body's cartographic database.

Legislative Reform

Analysis of possible reforms of member states’ election laws. Identification of strategies and recommendations for the modernization of an electoral system.

Electoral Organization and Logistics

Services to advise and support electoral management bodies in planning electoral processes (election calendar); monitoring and controlling pre-election, election, and post-election activities; and identifying technical and operational weaknesses that require electoral reforms for the organization of elections.

Electoral Administration

Technical analysis of the status and operations of electoral management bodies’ organizational structure. Creation of strategies for administrative modernization and restructuring.

Quality Management and Certification in Electoral Processes

Quality management and certification systems supported by ISO 9001:2000 standards. Improvement of electoral and registration systems through the identification, analysis, and development of critical processes to improve, reengineer, or redesign processes.

Promotion of Citizen Participation

Design and implementation of promotional plans through the development of civic education and information campaigns and training sessions for the purpose of motivating citizens to exercise their right to vote.

Horizontal Cooperation

Implementation of initiatives to exchange and adapt successful experiences in the electoral arena, enabling an electoral institution to receive support from other such institutions through visits by groups of experts who can share their knowledge and provide support in different areas that require technical assistance.

Strengthening the Electoral Process and Registration Systems of the Electoral Tribunal of Panama: Implementing a Quality Management System

Estimated duration: January 2008 to March 2011
Counterpart: Electoral Tribunal of Panama
Donor: Spanish Agency for International Cooperation

This project aims to implement a quality management system in three substantive areas and one support area: the Office of Civil Registry, the Office of Identity Documents, the Electoral Organization Office, and the Information Systems Office.

The implementation of quality management systems makes it possible to adjust institutional processes to meet levels and standards defined by international norms that substantially improve productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. With a perspective centered on customers—citizens, political parties, researchers, and others—certification has become one of the most important tools to solve management problems and at the same time to improve the credibility of electoral bodies through the implementation of processes that are more transparent and efficient.

In May 2010, the four national offices and their support processes met the standards determined by the ISO Quality Management System's certification agency with respect to applicable legal and regulatory standards under ISO 9001:2008.

Systematization of Judicial Decisions on Electoral Matters to Facilitate the Work of Institutions with Jurisdiction in Latin America

Estimate duration: Since February 2010

Counterparts: National Electoral Chamber, Argentina; Superior Electoral Tribunal, Brazil; Supreme Elections Tribunal, Costa Rica; Qualifying Tribunal of Elections, Chile; Electoral Disputes Tribunal, Ecuador; Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary, Mexico; Central Electoral Committee, Dominican Republic; Electoral Tribunal, Panama; National Jury of Elections, Peru

Donor: Canada

Currently, the OAS/DECO is implementing this project—"Systematization of Judicial Decisions on Electoral Matters to Facilitate the Work of Institutions with Jurisdiction in Latin America"—in conjunction with Mexico's Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF).

The Latin American Electoral Law Portal is a pilot project to systematize judicial rulings on electoral matters. Its aim is to give electoral management bodies, researchers, students, and the general public access to relevant decisions handed down by the region's institutions with jurisdiction in this field.

The main objectives of the project include laying the foundations for the treatment of judicial decisions in electoral matters in the region; facilitating the classification and systematization of such judgments; and strengthening the capacity for dialogue among the hemisphere's political bodies.

Audit of the Guatemalan Electoral Register

Estimated duration: August to October 2010
Counterpart: Supreme Electoral Tribunal
Donor: Canada

The OAS/DECO is in the process of starting a comprehensive, two-way audit of Guatemala's electoral register, through which it will verify its quality and the degree to which it has been updated.

The audit will analyze the following components: the legal framework; procedures to update the electoral roll and purge ineligible voters; verification of primary sources; procedures for challenges and claims; and information systems.

Implementation of a Quality Management System in the Supreme Elections Tribunal of Costa Rica

Estimate duration: Two years
Counterpart: Supreme Elections Tribunal of Costa Rica
Donor: CIDA-Canada

The OAS/DECO is in the process of developing a cooperation project to improve the Elections Tribunal's quality management by obtaining an institutional quality certification under ISO 9001:2008 standards.

With the implementation of this certification, Costa Rica's Supreme Elections Tribunal seeks to meet various challenges, including the need to provide better services to the public and to improve operational efficiency and controls in issuing ID cards, updating the electoral roll, and standardizing work procedures, among other tasks.

Implementation of a Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2008) in Peru's National Jury of Elections

Estimated Duration: Twelve months
Counterpart: National Jury of Elections in Peru
Donor: Canada

Peru's National Jury of Elections (JNE) is carrying out an ambitious effort to certify its processes under ISO 9001:2008 quality standards.

The National Jury of Elections has requested OAS support to certify a second stage of processes under ISO 9001:2008 standards. These include: 1) oversight, 2) citizen assistance, 3) civic education and citizenship training, and 4) regulatory frameworks. It will also be necessary to certify the support and management of these key processes. In the future, the JNE hopes to expand certification to cover the process by which it issues decisions, thus completing certification for every critical process it handles.

Audit of Paraguayan Electoral Register

Estimated duration: April to June 2010
Counterpart: Superior Tribunal of Electoral Justice, Paraguay
Donors: Canada and the United States

From April to July 2010, DECO advised the Superior Tribunal of Electoral Justice in the implementation of a comprehensive two-way audit of the electoral roll. The audit identified areas in which the register could be improved, as well as procedures to add names and update information. The final report contains a series of recommendations for the short, medium, and long term, which are intended mainly as a tool to help this electoral body improve its management.

Technical Cooperation with the National Electoral Court of Bolivia in the Re-registration of the Electorate for the December General Elections

Duration: Six months
Counterpart:  National Electoral Court of Bolivia
Donor Countries:  Brazil, Canada, and the United States

Since June 2009, the OAS has provided cooperation and technical assistance to the voter re-registration process in different areas; these include electoral organization, information security, electoral logistics, computing and data transmission, and electoral laws, among others. The OAS has also deployed a group of international consultants to the various departments of the country to support the process at the local level, assess problems, and monitor the progress of registration.

Supporting the Process of Auditing and Certifying Electronic Voting Technology in Peru

Duration: July 2009 to March 2010
Counterpart: National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE)
Donor: Canada

Since July 2009, the OAS/DECO has been working with the ONPE in the certification of electronic voting technology solutions. The OAS role includes coordinating the implementation of audits of government-created technological solutions, and contracting or ensuring the availability of consultants with expertise in the certification of electronic voting. The OAS will also help coordinate joint cooperation activities between the ONPE and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).