Election Management Body

Remington Eastman

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Focus Area(s)
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7
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Remington Eastman
Interviewee's Position
Project Manager, Media Monitoring Unit
Interviewee's Organization
Guyana Elections Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Guyanese
Place (Building/Street)
GECOM Headquarters
Town/City
Georgetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Remington Eastman of the Guyana Elections Commission describes his role in heading a group that monitors the media prior to, during, and after elections to ensure that coverage is fair and does not favor one party or engage in inflammatory rhetoric. His operation, which is funded by international donors through the commission, had no legal powers to enforce its actions and relied upon persuasion, or “name and shame,” to influence media behavior. He says that these efforts generally were effective during election time, but that the media often return to their partisan or inflammatory behavior after the election period. He states that the Media Monitoring Unit was especially effective during the Lusignan and Bartica massacres, in which Guyana citizens of African descent attacked communities of East Indian descent. The unit worked to calm inflammatory media behavior by showing them the consequences that flowed from similar media behavior in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Another media monitoring unit in Guyana, the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting, created by the Parliament, has the power, unlike the MMU, to enforce its actions through legal action by the president, who is also Minister of Communications. Two television channels were closed down for a period of time because of violations. However, ACB has power only over television, not print media. A 2006 Media Code of Conduct was adopted to guide media behavior during elections that year. It drew upon the Media Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, as well as codes of ethics at the British Broadcasting Corp., the Associated Press and other groups. Eastman also discusses the steps and costs involved to upgrade his agency from analog to digital technology.

Case Study:  Cooling Ethnic Conflict Over a Heated Election: Guyana, 2001-2006

 

Profile

At the time of this interview, Remington Eastman was serving as project manager of the Media Monitoring Unit of the Guyana Elections Commission. He started working at the unit in 2006 as a supervisor, and then served briefly in community mobilization and public relations with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He returned to the unit in 2007, when he was appointed manager. He holds a diploma in public communication and a degree in mass communications from the University of Guyana.

Full Audio File Size
37.4 MB
Full Audio Title
Remington Eastman- Full Interview

Ransford Gyampo

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Focus Area(s)
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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Lucas Issacharoff and Daniel Scher
Name
Ransford Gyampo
Interviewee's Position
Professor of Political Science
Interviewee's Organization
University of Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Place (Building/Street)
University of Ghana
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Ransford Gyampo discusses his research on election politics in Ghana.  The interview focuses on the changes to the campaign environment following a 2008 agreement on a code of conduct.  Van Gyampo mentions the impact of two independent institutions on the forging of a campaign agreement.  He also talks about how the enforcement of the agreement was popularly demanded and carried out after the agreement was widely distributed.  He also discusses the relevance of a strong civil service to election reform.     

Case Study:  Keeping the Peace in a Tense Election: Ghana, 2008

Profile

At the time of this interview, Ransford Gyampo was a professor of political science at the University of Ghana. He conducted extensive research into recent political trends in Ghana and especially into the 2008 election.  He also was an assistant professor at the Governance Center of the Institute of Economic Affairs in Ghana.  He earned a master’s degree in political science and specialized in human rights and government. 

Full Audio File Size
98MB
Full Audio Title
Ransford Van Gyampo Interview

George Wah Williams

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Focus Area(s)
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15
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
George Wah Williams
Interviewee's Position
Executive Director
Interviewee's Organization
Liberia Democracy Watch
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Liberian
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

George Williams, former officer of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Monrovia describes his experiences during the 2005 Liberian elections. The institute worked extensively with political parties in the country, playing a role in the establishment of an Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC) and a party code of conduct. Williams describes political parties in the country as fragile and requiring significant reform. During the 2005 elections, Liberian political parties were centered on individuals rather than on ideological or political preferences. As such, they tended to be transient rather than stable and lasting institutions. Williams recommends that parties should emphasize capacity building and that the National Elections Commission of the country, which he says was moderately successful in regulating the 2005 elections, should increase its level of regulation in subsequent elections. He goes on to discuss the potential merits of publicly financed campaigns, which would be possible only if parties were better regulated and their number reduced.     

Case Study:  A Path to Peace: Liberia's First Post-War Elections, 2004-2005

Profile

At the time of this interview, George Williams was the Executive Director of Liberia Democracy Watch.  In his capacity with Liberia Democracy  Watch, Williams served as an international elections observer with the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) in Ghana in 2008 and with The Carter Center in Sudan in 2010. During the 2005 elections, George Williams was a Program Officer for the International Republican Institute in Monrovia, Liberia. Williams, who comes from a family active in politics, studied economics at the University of Liberia. 

 
Full Audio File Size
20 MB
Full Audio Title
George Williams - Full Interview

John Larvie

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Focus Area(s)
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3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
John Larvie
Interviewee's Position
Programs Coordinator
Interviewee's Organization
Center for Democratic Development, Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
John Larvie gives a detailed account of the electoral process in Ghana and the relevant players at each level. He starts by explaining the timing and sequencing of elections in Ghana, including the length of the electoral process and the decisions involved in finalizing its schedule. The legal framework of the electoral system in Ghana is also addressed, focusing on regulations that govern eligibility, registration, voting procedures, and the voting system used. He then moves on to explain how the election management body, the Electoral Commission of Ghana, was established with specific reference to efforts to maintain its transparency, and how its responsibilities, budget, and appointments are administered. He offers further insights into the role the Electoral Commission plays in regulating the political parties, and its training, recruitment, delimitation, evaluation and poll worker protection procedures. Larvie also gives details on Ghana’s voter education programs and the use of election monitors and their monitoring methods. Throughout the interview he offers advice and insights into addressing challenges that arise in elections, such as funding issues, partisan appointments, and ballot design to prevent vote fraud. Finally he explains the need to use the media effectively.
Profile
At the time of this interview, John Larvie was working at the Center for Democratic Development in Accra, Ghana. His work since 1987 involved the management of decentralization, democracy and governance at the district and national level in Ghana, with a specialty in communications and public relations. He also trained election observers and poll workers, and worked in civic and voter education initiatives. Previously he held various posts in communications and public relations with the Electoral Commission of Ghana, district assemblymen, and the International Foundation of Electoral Systems. In recognition of his role in governance and democracy work, in 1997 he was made an honorary member of the Board of Elections in Washington, D.C.
Full Audio File Size
141 MB
Full Audio Title
John Larvie - Full Interview

Steve Surujbally

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Focus Area(s)
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9
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Steve Surujbally
Interviewee's Position
Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
Election Commission, Guyana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Guyanese
Place (Building/Street)
GECOM
Town/City
Georgetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Steve Surujbally discusses the 2006 election in Guyana.  From the broad to the very specific, he touches on a wide variety of issues of logistical operations surrounding the 2006 election. Surujbally brings up voter registration and the issues surrounding preserving the anonymity of voters in rural districts while reporting voting trends of individual districts in an effort to maintain transparency. He also discusses campaign conduct and tensions leading up to the election. 
 
Profile

At the time of the interview, Steve Surujbally was the chairman of the Election Commission in Guyana. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in veterinary science, and was a practicing veterinarian.  He was appointed chairman of the Election Commission after stints with other government agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture. Surujbally also was a columnist, writing both satirical political articles and response articles in veterinary science.  

Full Audio File Size
75MB
Full Audio Title
Steve Surujbally Interview

Alok Shukla

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Focus Area(s)
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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Michael Scharff
Name
Alok Shukla
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Election Commissioner
Interviewee's Organization
Election Commission of India
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Indian
Town/City
New Delhi
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Alok Shukla discusses his work with the Election Commission of India. He talks about the importance of election safety and sheds light on the police deployment strategy that surrounds Indian elections. He opens his discussion with an explanation of the monitoring systems used to keep election violence to a minimum. He continues by speaking of other accountability measures like web-cameras with a direct line to the Election Commission placed in to polling stations in order to ensure proper practice. He then explains the system of vulnerability mapping in order to concentrate the most resources to the most vulnerable polling states. Shukla adds a detailed story about enfranchising communities that had been subject to voter intimidation. He concludes his discussion with the monitoring structures in place to ensure the impartiality of the Election Commission.
 
Profile

At the time of the interview,  Alok Shukla had served as a deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India for around two years. He had previously served as the chief electoral officer for the state of Chhattisgarh. 

Full Audio File Size
44 MB
Full Audio Title
Alok Shukla Interview

Augustina Akumanyi

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Focus Area(s)
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6
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Augustina Akumanyi
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
National Commission for Civic Education, Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Augustina Akumanyi explains her role at Ghana's National Commission of Civic Education and how the commission was established, including its relationship with the government and its efforts to become and remain an independent body. She talks about how the commission operates, including staff appointments, operations, funding, budget authority, recruitment methods, and training and evaluation methods. She offers details of the responsibilities of the commission in voter and civic education activities and how these are shared with civil society and the media. This education can come in the way of messages that can either be motivational or instructional. Akumanyi gives her opinion on the best way to convey these messages, and which messages are more effective than others. Finally, Akumanyi shares her perspectives on the relationship between donors and host countries and ways to improve working relations.
Profile
At the time of this interview, Augustina Akumanyi was deputy chairman responsible for programs at the National Commission for Civic Education in Accra, Ghana. She had extensive experience in the Ghana Civil Service as well as more than 20 years working in the U.K. as a principle committee administrator in five London boroughs. She returned to Ghana in 2003 to work at the commission. She graduated from the University of Ghana and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Full Audio File Size
45 MB
Full Audio Title
Augustina Akumanyi - Full Interview

Khabele Matlosa

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Focus Area(s)
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4
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Amy Mawson
Name
Khabele Matlosa
Interviewee's Position
Director of Programs
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Lesotho
Place (Building/Street)
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
Town/City
Johannesburg
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this extensive interview Khabele Matlosa traces Lesotho’s electoral history from its founding election in 1966 through to the country’s controversial 2007 vote. He discusses the unpredictability of Lesotho’s politics, touches on the informal party alliances that dogged the 2007 poll, and outlines the causes of the country’s recurrent electoral violence.
 
Profile

Khabele Matlosa began his studies in Lesotho before pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Leeds in the U.K., and a doctorate at the University of Western Cape in South Africa. He lectured at the University of Lesotho and worked briefly with the South African Regional Institute of Policy Studies in Zimbabwe before taking up his role as director of programs at the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.

Full Audio File Size
77 MB
Full Audio Title
Khabele Matlosa Interview

S.K. Mendiratta

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Focus Area(s)
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3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Michael Scharff
Name
S.K. Mendiratta
Interviewee's Position
Legal Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
Election Commission of India
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Indian
Town/City
New Delhi
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
S.K. Mendiratta speaks about his work with the Election Commission of India. He opens the discussion by describing the system of vulnerability mapping in order to determine the areas most prone to election violence and intimidation. This included finding areas that had unusually low turnout and providing them with police protection. He notes that known trouble makers are put under increased police monitoring during this time as well. In the second part of the interview, Mendiratta elaborates on the efforts of the Election Commission to curb voter intimidation. These included unique methods such as video monitoring at polls in order to ensure legal compliance. He concludes his discussion by adding detail on the accountability measures keeping watch of the Election Commission. Through focusing on the attitudes of outgoing opposition parties, they are able to determine the perceived fairness of the election.
 
Profile

At the time of the interview, S.K. Mendiratta was the legal advisor to the Election Commission of India. He began his career nearly 46 years earlier as an assistant in the Election Commission. Beginning in 1979, Mendiratta was responsible for all legal affairs of the commission, including electoral reform legislation and litigation work of the commission before the Supreme Court and High Courts in India. Although he had been retired for 13 years at the time of the interview, Mendiratta continued much of his work in an advisory position. 

Full Audio File Size
74 MB
Full Audio Title
S.K. Mendiratta Interview

Neel Kantha Uprety

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Focus Area(s)
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12
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Neel Kantha Uprety
Interviewee's Position
Commissioner
Interviewee's Organization
Election Commission of Nepal
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nepalese
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Neel Kantha Uprety discusses his role at the Election Commission of Nepal and the changes that took place since 1990 through its role as a constitutionally appointed independent body. He details the changes and challenges encountered in voter registration methods, voter education, the type of electoral system used, and the creation of the election management body through legislation and the constitution. He also talks about the methods adopted to build trust among the people and the need to have open consultations between political parties through formal and informal meetings. He describes how the commission became more transparent over the years with increasing interaction with civil society through regular meetings, and grassroots level projects. Uprety details the election process in Nepal from the commission’s perspective in terms of scaling up staff, training, use of ballot boxes, the introduction of electronic voting, and procurement. He offers insights into common problems encountered on election day, such as voter identification and the use of identification cards, and discusses how to overcome them.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Neel Kantha Uprety was commissioner at the Election Commission of Nepal. He became involved in electoral work in Nepal in the early 1990s. He also worked for the United Nations as a senior election coordinator in Afghanistan and as an election observer in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. He earned a master's degree in economics and public administration in Nepal, and a post-graduate diploma and master's degree in computer science in the U.K.

Full Audio File Size
80.4MB
Full Audio Title
Mr. Neel Kanth Uprety-Full interview