voter fraud

James Wallace

Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
James Wallace
Interviewee's Position
Director of Training and Procedures
Interviewee's Organization
National Elections Commission
Language
English
Place (Building/Street)
NEC
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, James Wallace describes his experiences as the Director of Training of the National Elections Commission of Liberia during the country’s 2005 elections. Wallace discusses the preparations undertaken by the commission prior to the elections, including boundary delimitation, civic education and voter registration. As Liberia was just emerging from a civil conflict, there were a number of obstacles that made these processes particularly difficult. And because of this extraordinary situation, extraordinary methods had to be employed, including, for registration purposes, the use of language and accents as a means for officials to identify individuals as being Liberians, as well the use of a vouching system in which prominent Liberians could vouch for the citizenship of fellow community members. Wallace emphasizes the importance of community involvement throughout voting processes, through consultations with local leaders during boundary delimitation and in educating the electorate. He goes on to describe the logistics behind polling centers and the breakdown of responsibilities of workers as well as the mechanisms, both technological and logistical, employed to prevent fraud. Wallace concludes by emphasizing the importance of teamwork, openness to criticism and innovation to success for anyone with similar responsibilities.

Profile

At the time of this interview, James Wallace was the Director of Training of the National Elections Commission of Liberia.

Rupert Roopnaraine

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L
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Rupert Roopnaraine
Interviewee's Position
Co-Leader
Interviewee's Organization
Working People's Alliance
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Guyanese
Town/City
Georgetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Rupert Roopnaraine discusses his role in the Constitutional Reform Commission in Guyana. He details the challenge of recommending reforms to better balance power in a government that was constitutionally highly centralized on the Office of the President and the difficulty of dealing with a government reflexively resistant to electoral reform. He touches on the question of proportional representation, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the system, why he believes removing the proportional representation system is a necessary first step in reforming the quality of parliamentary conduct and productivity, and why he believes a first-past-the-post system is better for local government. Roopnaraine discusses the commission’s strategies to address high ethnic tensions exacerbated by racialization of political parties and outlines the commission’s success in putting together an Elections Commission that was acceptable to both incumbent and opposition parties. He lays out the events around Guyana’s failed 1997 elections that led to the formation of the Constitutional Reform Commission and political difficulties in Guyana at the time of the interview. He also discusses progress made on the rights of indigenous people, the reasons why many reforms were never fully implemented, and the challenges of putting together new voter registration lists.
 
Profile

Rupert Roopnaraine was a co-leader of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, a group he joined in 1979. He served as a member of Parliament from 1995 to 2000 and on the Constitutional Reform Commission in 1998.  He also was a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, special select committees on the Integrity Bill and on the Trade Union Bill, and the Public Accounts Committee. He also was a member of the Commonwealth Observer Missions for elections in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zanzibar. At the time of this interview, he was program director of the Guyana Citizens’ Initiative.  He received his doctorate in comparative literature from Cornell University, and he taught at the University of Guyana, Cornell, and Columbia University in various capacities.

Full Audio File Size
80 MB
Full Audio Title
Rupert Roopnaraine Interview

Steve Surujbally

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L
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
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

Douglas Bain

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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

Clarence Kipobota

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G
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
6
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Clarence Kipobota
Interviewee's Position
Outreach Services Coordinator
Interviewee's Organization
Legal and Human Rights Center
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzania
Place (Building/Street)
Legal and Human Rights Center
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Clarence Kipobota draws on his experience working on pre- and post-election issues at the Legal and Human Rights Center to address various aspects of Tanzania’s electoral process.  He highlights problems with the independence of the Electoral Committee, updating the permanent voter registry, ensuring the enfranchisement of marginalized groups and combating voter fraud.  He also details how the center and its partners were pushing for reform, and he discusses the voter-education activities they were leading.

Profile

Clarence Kipobota joined the Legal and Human Rights Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after graduating from law school in 2003.  At the time of this interview, he held the position of outreach services coordinator, working to coordinate nine different programs focusing on mass education, human rights monitoring, gender, legal aid, public engagement, election watch, Parliament watch, justice watch and government watch.  He was involved in the pre- and post-election activities of the center.

Full Audio File Size
61.8MB
Full Audio Title
Clarence Kipobota- Full Interview

Shukri Ismail

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U
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
14
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Richard Bennet and Michael Woldemariam
Name
Shukri Ismail
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Somali
Town/City
Hargeisa, Somaliland
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Shukri Ismail discusses the formation and work of Somaliland’s first national election commission. She explains the difficulties the commission faced organizing Somaliland’s first elections, which included a difficult voter registration process, setting the election timetable and dealing with weak and newly formed state institutions and untested election law. Ismail also discusses the difficulties with political party formation, hiring and training election staff and the potential for violence when the commission ultimately determined the presidential election had been won by 80 votes. She also touches on working with international consultants, the electoral commission’s relationship with the media, the role of the clan in Somaliland’s elections, the lessons learned from Somaliland’s first elections and the challenges still ahead.

Case Study:  Nurturing Democracy in the Horn of Africa: Somaliland's First Elections, 2002-2005

Profile

At the time of this interview Shukri Ismail was the founder and director of Candle Light, a health, education, and environment non-profit based in Somaliland. She was the only female national election commissioner with Somaliland’s first National Election Commission.

Full Audio File Size
91.5 MB
Full Audio Title
Shukri Ismail Interview

Humayun Kabir

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J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Humayun Kabir
Interviewee's Position
Secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat
Interviewee's Organization
Bangladesh Election Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Bangladeshi
Town/City
Dhaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Humayun Kabir, a secretary at the Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat, shares his experience in the 2008 Bangladeshi election.  He talks about many aspects of the electoral process and how the newly constituted Election Commission dealt with them between February 2007 and December 2008.  He details the voter-registration and boundary-delimitation processes and the multiple challenges the commission faced in accomplishing these tasks.  He also highlights successful innovations such as the photographic voter registry and the use of transparent ballot boxes, which he credits with limiting post-election violence in 2008.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Humayun Kabir was a secretary of the Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat.  He joined the commission in 2007, shortly after it had undergone a significant restructuring exercise in response to the postponement of the 2007 Bangladeshi election.  Prior to joining the Election Commission he was the managing director of the national insurance corporation, Sadharan Bima Corp.  He also worked as joint secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, as deputy secretary of the Cabinet and in various capacities at other Bangladeshi ministries.

Full Audio File Size
39.2MB
Full Audio Title
Humayun Kabir- Full Interview

Magnus Öhman

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A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
9
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Magnus Öhman
Interviewee's Position
Country Director, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
Interviewee's Organization
Sierra Leone
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Magnus Öhman discusses Sierra Leone’s 2007 elections.  He explains the considerations necessary during election sequencing, the current legal and constitutional framework for elections in Sierra Leone, and the various successes and challenges of Sierra Leone’s recent elections.  He describes the responsibilities of the National Electoral Commission, the legal framework that governs it, and its successes and challenges.  He also explains the training of poll workers, the boundary delimitation process, voter registration, and the various safeguards against fraud during both registration and voting.  Öhman also touches on the development of political parties in Sierra Leone, problems with the involvement of donor countries and international organizations, and the role of the media in elections.    

Case Study:  Mediating Election Conflict in a Bruised Society: Code of Conduct Monitoring Committees in Post-War Sierra Leone, 2006-2012

Profile

At the time of this interview, Magnus Öhman was the country director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Sierra Leone, a position he had held since 2007.  Öhman began working with IFES in 2005, after receiving a doctorate in political science from the University of Uppsala in Sweden.  He worked on political-party and campaign-finance issues from the 1990s, with a focus on disclosure processes, public funding systems and sustainable solutions.  He worked with political finance initiatives in a series of countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Indonesia, Liberia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.  He was the lead author of the political-finance module in the BRIDGE curriculum, considered the industry standard on training in elections, democracy and governance.

Full Audio File Size
77 MB
Full Audio Title
Magnus Ohman - Full Interview

Peter Eicher

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J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Peter Eicher
Interviewee's Position
Elections Consultant
Interviewee's Organization
independent
Language
English
Town/City
Washington, DC
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Peter Eicher talks about his involvement in the Bangladeshi election that was originally scheduled for January 2007 but was ultimately held in December 2008.  He details the many challenges that led to the election being postponed, including prolific corruption, widespread electoral violence and significant problems with the Election Commission and dispute-resolution mechanisms.  Eicher goes on to explain how the caretaker government rebuilt trust in the Bangladeshi electoral system between 2007 and 2008 by redoing the voter registry, fighting corruption across government and restructuring the Election Commission.  He also highlights Bangladesh’s system of having an interim government assume power three months before an election, suggesting it as a potentially useful approach for other countries struggling with neutrality issues in the electoral process.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Peter Eicher was an independent consultant on elections, human rights and democracy. He worked for the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, heading elections missions, providing election advice and preparing handbooks and reports on elections in various countries.  He started his career as a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department.  After retiring from the department, he took up the deputy director position at the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.  In 2005 he began working with the U.N.’s Electoral Assistance Division, working first on the 2005 Iraqi elections and later on the 2008 Bangladeshi election.

Full Audio File Size
37.1MB
Full Audio Title
Peter Eicher-Full Interview

Albert Kofi Arhin

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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