registration audit

Douglas Bain

Ref Batch
R
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Michael Scharff
Name
Douglas Bain
Interviewee's Position
Chief Electoral Officer
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
Language
English
Town/City
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Douglas Bain discusses his role as chief electoral officer with the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.  Bain talks about several methods he instituted to bolster trust and confidence in the Electoral Office, including having his staff mask as voters and approach staff at local election offices in order to test the local staff’s responsiveness to a variety of questions and requests.  Bain also discusses his efforts to ensure the accuracy of voter registration forms to defend against voter fraud. Looking to future elections, he suggests greater transparency in the voting process can be accomplished through increased public outreach by election officials.  Bain also stresses the need for greater efforts to combat voter intimidation by the political parties.

Case Study: Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Elections in Northern Ireland, 2005

Profile

At the time of this interview, Douglas Bain was the chief electoral officer with the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.  A lawyer by training, he held a number of positions in the Northern Ireland Office, a department of the U.K. government responsible for Northern Ireland affairs.  Prior to joining the Electoral Office, Bain served as director of services in the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Full Audio File Size
59 MB
Full Audio Title
Douglas Bain - Full Interview

Albert Kofi Arhin

Ref Batch
E
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
12
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Albert Kofi Arhin
Interviewee's Position
Director of Operations
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Commission of Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghana
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Albert Kofi Arhin discusses the biggest challenges of conducting elections in Ghana. He details the process of drawing up a timetable for the elections. He explains the issues surrounding elections funding and the steps Ghana is taking to make them more affordable. Arhin also discusses staff recruiting and training, elections monitoring, boundary delimitation, and voter registration. He then focuses on fraud prevention, both in the registration process and during the elections themselves, and security issues.  Arhin also touches on the Electoral Commission’s relationship with the media, discusses voter education, and offers advice for other countries conducting difficult elections.    

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

Profile

At the time of this interview, Albert Kofi Arhin was the director of operations for the Electoral Commission of Ghana, a position he had held since 1998.  

Full Audio File Size
96 MB
Full Audio Title
Albert Kofi Arhin - Full Interview

Amon E. Chaligha

Ref Batch
G
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Amon E. Chaligha
Interviewee's Position
Commissioner
Interviewee's Organization
National Electoral Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Professor Chaligha discusses the management of elections by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in mainland Tanzania and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Zanzibar. The NEC is responsible for registering voters, demarcating constituencies, and conducting voter education. The relationship between the NEC and ZEC is complex in that some Zanzibar residents, who have spent less than three years in Zanzibar, are registered for mainland Tanzania’s elections. Chaligha mentions NEC’s efforts to maintain transparency on election day. For example, all candidates are allowed to place an election monitor at the polling station during voting. Following Tanzania’s constitution, leaders of political parties – including members of Parliament, councilors and ministers – are not permitted to serve on the NEC. In contrast to the NEC, the ZEC does permit political party members on the commission. A major hindrance to the NEC is its reliance on the government for funding. Chaligha proposes an election fund that the commission could call on only for elections.     

Profile

Amon Chaligha first began monitoring elections at the University of Dar es Salaam for the Department of Political Science and Department of Public Administration. The University had been involved in monitoring elections since its founding in the 1960s. At the time of the interview, Chaligha was an associate professor at the university, where he taught local government and administration and human resource management. Following his experience in monitoring elections, he was asked to join the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania as a commissioner. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Audio File Size
60 MB
Full Audio Title
Chaligha - Full Interview

Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury

Ref Batch
J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury
Interviewee's Position
Project Director for Voter List Project
Interviewee's Organization
Bangladesh Election Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Bangladesh
Town/City
Dhaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury explains the process by which the Bangladesh Army created an electronic voter registration process and electronic electoral roll with photographs. The Electoral Commission chose the Army for this task out of various national and international organizations who submitted offers. He describes several capabilities that the Army brought to the task, including several officers with information technology (IT) skills and the ability, with the Navy and Coast Guard, to reach geographically remote communities. One challenge he identifies was finding and training staff with the necessary IT skills and acquiring the necessary technological resources, such as laptops, cameras, and finger print scanners. To address this need within a short time frame, he explains that the army sought out a number of vendors and occasionally accepted assistance from United Nations Development Project (UNDP). Chowdhury describes how the Army developed software to collect the voters’ information and identify multiple registrations by maintaining the registry. He explains the verification processes for the voter registry, including local government authentication of data and review by the Department for International Development (DFID) and UNDP.    

Profile

At the time of this interview Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury was serving as the project director for the Election Commission’s voter list project. The project, formally known as the Preparation of Electoral Roll with Photographs, began in 2007. He came to this position as a Brigadier General in the Bangladesh Army. 

Full Audio File Size
43 MB
Full Audio Title
Shahadat Chowdhury Interview

Senesee Geso Freeman

Ref Batch
D
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
5
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
Senesee Geso Freeman
Interviewee's Position
Program Officer
Interviewee's Organization
IFES
Language
English
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Senesee Freeman discusses the role that the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) played in the 2005 Liberian Elections. IFES supported the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia in rewriting portions of the country’s electoral laws, determining the budget for the elections, registering voters and demarcating voting districts. IFES aimed to increase civic participation of traditionally marginalized populations, such as women and the disabled, by tailoring messages and educational materials for these specific groups and using members of these groups to disseminate them. Freeman emphasizes the importance of tailoring educational materials in all scenarios; materials should be translated to local dialects or languages and elicit the involvement of respected locals, particularly those in prominent positions like town criers. IFES aimed not only to encourage increased participation through these means, but also to encourage individuals to vote according to their consciences rather than succumb to the temptation of voting for candidates who aim to buy votes by providing individuals with material incentives. Freeman also points out that the timing of the elections, at the peak of the rainy season, introduces a number of logistical issues. He concludes by suggesting that resources be constantly and incrementally set aside for the purpose of elections, rather than the country relying on massive international support directly before an election. 
 
Profile

 At the time of this interview, Senesee Freeman was a Program Officer for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Liberia. Freeman studied at the University of Liberia and proceeded to work in local Liberia-based development agencies, including the New African Research and Development Agency (NARDA), where he worked to facilitate the capacity building of local non-governmental organizations. He later worked with Synergies International; where he aimed to assist marginalized populations, including ex-combatants, reintegrate themselves into Liberian society.  

Full Audio File Size
77 MB
Full Audio Title
Senesee Freeman - Full Interview

Nyimbi Odero

Ref Batch
X
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Gabriel Kuris
Name
Nyimbi Odero
Interviewee's Position
Technical Consultant
Interviewee's Organization
INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission)
Language
English
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Nyimbi Odero explains the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission in providing a certified voters’ register for the 2011 elections in Nigeria.  He describes his role in designing and obtaining the necessary equipment to run the election through the mechanism of a reverse vickery auction designed to improve transparency.  He details the process by which the INEC redesigned the power system to run on extended lithium ferrous phosphate batteries to increase efficiency.  He explains how he led the INEC in taking advantage of existing open source software and altering it to fit the Nigerian context.  He elaborates on how this effort to be cost efficient was initially met with a backlash from companies that had traditionally profited from the elections.  Odero describes how his team installed a patching infrastructure to facilitate the process of installing software on a large number of computers that were used for the voter registration, and explains how culturally embedded meanings of the word ‘patch’ caused Nigerians to be skeptical of the new technology.  He discusses how severe time constraints forced the INEC to train people and improvise with equipment throughout the registration process rather than before it began.   Odero touches on the key role that Nigerian youth played throughout the process.  He explains how the INEC used social media to involve the Nigerian electorate, and details the widespread use of mobile phones to improve security and information sharing.  He concludes by emphasizing the potential of open source software to improve the transparency and efficiency of democratic elections across the African continent. 
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Nyimbi Odero was a consultant for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria.  A native to Kenya, Odero has extensive experience as a software, Internet, and network entrepreneur with various startups in Africa.  Prior to joining INEC as an electoral assistant, he worked as the Office Lead for English-speaking West Africa at Google.  In that role, he created programs, initiatives and projects to increase the number of Internet users in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia.  He has experience engaging the government as well as the public and private sector regarding policies regulating the competitiveness and accessibility of the Internet.  Odero has a special interest in education, and he initiated the Google University Access Programme, which delivers bandwidth, wireless networks and inexpensive computing devices to university students and communities.  

Full Audio File Size
68 MB
Full Audio Title
Nyimbi Odero - Full Interview

Rebooting the System: Technological Reforms in Nigerian Elections, 2010-2011

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract
In 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed committed reformer Attahiru Jega to chair Nigeria’s electoral commission, building hope that the West African nation would finally break its chain of discredited elections. With under a year to prepare for the April 2011 elections, the commission turned to emerging technologies such as open-source software and social media to register 73 million voters from scratch and open a direct dialogue with the electorate. A small team of young Nigerian engineers guided by Nyimbi Odero pioneered these innovations, many of which contradicted the advice of elections experts. Despite some initial technical difficulties, Nigeria’s homegrown technology enabled the commission to prepare for elections goals on schedule and under budget. The credibility the commission earned helped spur unprecedented levels of voter participation. Ultimately, domestic and international observers validated the 2011 elections as the most free and fair in Nigeria’s history.
 

Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria, in October 2011. Case published March 2012. For a broader analysis of Nigeria's 2011 elections, see "Toward a Second Independence: Repairing Nigeria's Electoral Commission, 2010-2011."

Associated Interview(s): Nyimbi OderosDapo Olorunyomi

 

Gocool Boodoo

Ref Batch
L
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
14
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Gocool Boodoo
Interviewee's Position
Chief Elections Officer
Interviewee's Organization
Guyana Elections Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Guyanese
Town/City
Georgetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Gocool Boodoo discusses his personal path to his position as chief elections officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, as well as his reflections on the institutionalization of practices, policies, and procedures that account for the relative success of the 2006 electoral process in Guyana. Boodoo notes the benefits of institutional memory with the implementation of a permanent staff for the commission and secretariat, and he highlights the importance of transparency at every level of the organization and every stage of the electoral process, from registration to voting day to declaration of results. The emphasis he places on technology for organizing and sharing information, including registration forms and polling results, reflects his feeling that electronic voting will be a reality in Guyana at some point in the near future. The roles of technology, particularly for the sharing of information internally and with regional organizations, are the central focus of the interview. He also stresses the importance of a valid electoral roll. The interview concludes with a brief discussion of constituency delimitation in the late 2009 local elections, including a proposal before Parliament of a mixed proportional representation and "first-past-the-post" system.

 

Profile

At the time of this interview, Gocool Boodoo was chief elections officer at the Guyana Elections Commission. He previously served in various public relations and administrative capacities at the commission. Prior to his work at the Commission, he was the head of the Department of Foundations and Administration of the School of Education of the University of Guyana. His initial work with the commission was in the preparation of training and policy manuals for electoral workers. After serving as deputy commissioner for administration, he became chief elections officer in 2001, and he supervised both the March 2001 and 2006 national elections.

Full Audio File Size
26 MB
Full Audio Title
Mr. Gocool Boodoo - Full interview

Alex Paila

Ref Batch
A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Alex Paila
Interviewee's Position
Voter Education and Public Relations Officer
Interviewee's Organization
National Electoral Commission, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Sierra Leone
Town/City
Bo District
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Alex Paila discusses various aspects of national and local election management in Sierra Leone during 2007 and 2008. These areas include the recruitment, training, evaluation and monitoring of election staff; election security; voter registration, audits and curtailment of voter fraud; information dissemination, media relations and enfranchisement of marginalized groups; and financial and logistical constraints and concerns.  He also emphasizes cooperation with community-based civilian organizations as key for information dissemination and higher voter turnouts, and he stresses relations with international organizations to improve workers’ training and monitoring, and secure funding. Paila also speaks about the issues of districting and determining electoral timetables.  Finally, he reflects upon some of the challenges faced by Sierra Leone during the elections in 2007 and 2008, as well as possible hurdles that the country may face in the future.    

Profile

At the time of the interview, Alex Paila was the voter education and public relations officer at the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone. Prior to that, he worked as a journalist for various newspapers, including the Ceylon Times and the Spectator. He was also employed, first as a reporter and then as deputy news editor, at the Sierra Leone Broadcast Service. Paila holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. 

Full Audio File Size
84 MB
Full Audio Title
Alex Paila - Full Interview

Isabel Otero

Ref Batch
A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
7
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Isabel Otero
Interviewee's Position
Procedures and Training Adviser to the National Electoral Commission
Interviewee's Organization
UNDP Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Isabel Otero discusses the efforts by the United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team to build electoral management capacity in Sierra Leone. She discusses the 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections and the 2008 local government election. She begins by discussing the development of procedures and worker training by the UNDP. Otero speaks about various strategies used to curtail voter fraud and fraud by officials in the elections through the monitoring of registration lists, ballot papers, identification methods and other means. She also discusses the relationship between the UNDP and the National Electoral Commission. Finally, she reflects upon challenges that the electoral commission may face in the future, and offers advice for building capacity in electoral management in other states with little experience regarding elections. 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Isabel Otero was employed at the United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone. At the UNDP, she served as procedures and training adviser for the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone, a position that she held since 2006. Prior to working in Sierra Leone, she served in Liberia as a training and capacity building adviser. She also previously served as a training officer in Afghanistan, and during both the national constituency assembly election and the presidential election in Timor-Leste. Prior to working on electoral issues at the U.N., Otero worked on gender-equity issues in Colombia with various non-governmental organizations. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy. 

Full Audio File Size
72 MB
Full Audio Title
Isabel Otero - Full Interview