Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation


Electoral Studies and Projects Section

The Electoral Studies and Projects Section is responsible for conducting applied research activities and identifying best practices and standards related to democracy and elections, as well as publishing and disseminating this information. In practice, this section coordinates and facilitates research, publications, reports, seminars, conferences, and meetings that aim to build knowledge and exchange best practices, experiences, and lessons learned regarding democratic elections in the region, and carries out activities to document and disseminate this knowledge.

Analysis and Applied Research

This section conducts studies designed to contribute to the ongoing improvement of electoral institutions and processes in the region and of OAS electoral observation efforts.

Development of Methodologies

By systematizing information and knowledge in the area of elections, the OAS develops methodologies to observe the various aspects of the electoral process.

Exchange of Experiences

The aim of this area is to promote discussion and analysis about electoral processes. This is done by encouraging the exchange of experiences and best practices in the field. Emphasis has been placed on horizontal cooperation among electoral management bodies.

Publications and Dissemination

Periodic reports are prepared on the development of the region's electoral systems and other specialized issues in the field.

Methodology to Observe the Role of the Mass Media in the Electoral Process

DECO is working on a methodology to monitor the role of the media as part of OAS Electoral Observation Missions. It aims to provide tools and standards to observe the news media during OAS/EOMs and to monitor whether candidates and political parties have equal access to the media during electoral periods.

This project receives funding from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Technical Observation Program to Monitor the Integration of New Technologies in the Electoral Process

The OAS/DECO developed the "Technical Observation Program to Monitor the Integration of New Technologies in the Electoral Process," which describes the experiences of five countries in the region (Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Mexico) so that member states can share lessons learned about the introduction and use of new technologies in the electoral process.

In light of the growing use of information technology in the region's elections, and as part of its efforts to systematize, professionalize, and standardize OAS/EOMs, through this project DECO also created a methodology to observe highly automated electoral processes.

This effort led to the release of two publications: (1) Electoral Technology in the Americas: Five Case Studies and (2) Observing the Use of Electoral Technologies: A Manual for OAS Electoral Observation Missions.

Methodology to Observe Political and Electoral Financing in Electoral Observations Missions (OAS/EOMs)

The project seeks to design a methodology to observe systems for political and campaign financing, as part of the Electoral Observation Missions the OAS deploys in member states. The methodology will include a gender perspective and will look at differences between women and men in terms of access to political and electoral financing.

Incorporation of a Gender Perspective into OAS Electoral Observation Methodology

This project seeks to incorporate a gender perspective into the electoral observation methodology already designed and standardized by the OAS/DECO. The implementation of this methodology will make it possible to systematically analyze the situation regarding the equal participation of men and women in the electoral process at all levels: as voters, as candidates in national and local elections, and as leaders in state institutions and within electoral management bodies and political party structures.

A gender-sensitive observation methodology will also make it possible to identify whether or not there are barriers to full political participation by women in the countries of the region, within the specific context of an electoral process being observed.

Inter-American Program of Virtual Courses on Electoral Processes and Systems

This program, which aims to strengthen the capabilities of the region's electoral authorities, includes three virtual courses: (1) Introduction to Political and Campaign Financing in the Americas and the Caribbean; (2) Developing Strategies to Improve Voter Registries in the Americas and the Caribbean; and (3) Developing Strategies to Improve Electoral Participation.

Study on Political Financing in Latin America (Available in Spanish)

The OAS/DECO, in cooperation with International IDEA, is updating a comparative study on political financing models in the 18 countries of Latin America. It plans to present a regional review summarizing the formal characteristics of the political financing systems in place; models of regulation and control; progress achieved in the past five years; and challenges currently faced by Latin American countries with regard to political party and campaign financing.

Election Day

In order to further optimize the organization of elections in the region and to contribute to the institutional strengthening of the region's electoral bodies, the OAS/DECO expects to implement a project to identify, produce, and systematize best practices and lessons learned. It also plans to create handbooks for the various institutional stakeholders that will help design and improve election-day models and procedures. With this project, the OAS/DECO also hopes to conduct a series of training sessions for members of electoral management bodies in the region on the implementation of these procedures.

Electoral Participation in Latin America: A Proposal to Identify Voters' Socio-Demographic Profile

This project seeks to establish the socio-demographic profile of voter participation in the countries of the region, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the trends for electoral participation and to facilitate the design of public policies to increase participation, both in quantity and quality. The project also aims to help increase the responsible and informed participation of citizens in the many facets of the electoral process and in their different roles: (a) as voters, (b) as members of political parties, (c) as members of temporary electoral bodies, and (d) as members of social organizations. One stage of the project will include analysis and applied research; the other will involve training and working with electoral management bodies in the region.