Election Audits, Integrity, and Reform: Learning from the 2014 Afghanistan Election

Publication Date: 
22 Apr 2015

News Type:

Elections rarely conclude on Election Day. Although the first round of voting in the 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan was held on April 5, 2014, the new President was not announced until September 21, 2014, after the completion of an unprecedented comprehensive audit and an agreement between the candidates to form a National Unity Government.

In developing democracies, where legal frameworks for elections are sometimes ambiguous, and governance structures and the rule of law may be weak, allegations of fraud are common and often legitimate. When conducted in response to allegations of fraud or malpractice, a post-election audit can increase the credibility of the outcome. However, such audits should be used only in limited circumstances and according to clearly defined rules. Most importantly, because audits are typically conducted in times of crisis when tension between candidates is high and trust in the election management body is low, comprehensive planning and integrity management is vital.

The audit of the Afghan presidential runoff election sparked important conversations about the importance of defining international standards for audit processes. Drawing on their extensive involvement in several recent election audits in developing democracies, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Democracy International (DI) will release a joint white paper that identifies best practices for election audits.

Join IFES and DI for a launch event with a panel discussion on the 2014 election and its aftermath, important standards for election audits, and the future of elections in Afghanistan.

Featured speakers: 

Opening remarks by Glenn Cowan, Chief Executive Officer, DemocracyInternational

Jed Ober, Director of Programs, Democracy International

Chad Vickery, Director of the Center for Applied Research and Learning, IFES

Niall McCann, Lead Electoral Advisor, United Nations Development Programme

Moderated by Erica Shein, Applied Research and Learning Manager, IFES

Lunch will be served. 

Download Democracy International’s Afghanistan Election Observation Mission 2014 Report.