Standardizing the Principles of International Election Observation

By Misk, Jonathan | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2010 | Go to article overview

Standardizing the Principles of International Election Observation


Misk, Jonathan, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


ABSTRACT

On October 27, 2005, thirty-two international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) signed the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, drafted with the assistance of the United Nations. For nearly four decades before the signing of the Declaration, international election observation rapidly gained acceptance as a legitimate method of guaranteeing free and fair elections and thus promoting lasting democratic institutions. Many INGOs and IGOs conducting observation missions--including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, the South African Development Community, and the Carter Center--independently developed standards for their observers to follow. As international election observation became more prevalent and more organizations entered the fray, however, independent standards contributed to confusion. The Declaration thus sought to standardize election observation principles governing both international observation missions and host nations. Despite this noble goal, the Declaration falls short of providing a truly uniform and specific set of regulations that host nations, INGOs, or IGOs if they so choose--can simply adopt. In seeking to remedy the shortcomings of the Declaration, this Note examines existing international principles and representative national laws and offers, in conclusion, a draft Annex to the Declaration that incorporates the most useful and effective of these provisions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  I. INTRODUCTION
 II. THE HISTORY AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF
     INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION
III. REGIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION GUIDELINES
     AND THE UN DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES FOR
     INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION
     A. Foundational Election Observation
        Guidelines
     B. The UN Declaration of Principles for
        International Election Observation
 IV. NATIONAL LEGAL PROVISIONS GOVERNING
     INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVATION
     A. Russia
        1. Sources of Law on the Participation
           of International Election Observers
        2. Invitation, Recognition, and
           Accreditation of International
           Election Observers
        3. Observatory Rights of International
           Election Observers
        4. Limitations Placed on the Work of
           International Election Observers
        5. Reporting Standards Expected of
           International Election Observers
        6. Actions Required of Russia with Respect
           to International Election Observers
     B. Azerbaijan
        1. General Background Principles of
           Election Observation
        2. Invitation, Registration, and Accreditation
           of International Election Observers
        3. Observatory Rights of International
           Election Observers
        4. Limitations Placed on the Work of
           International Election Observers
        5. Reporting Standards Expected of
           International Election Observers
        6. Actions Required of Azerbaijan with
           Respect to International Election
           Observers
  V. PROPOSING AN ANNEX TO THE UN DECLARATION
     OF PRINCIPLES FOR INTERNATIONAL ELECTION
     OBSERVATION

     A. Concerns with the Declaration of Principles
        for International Election Observation
     B. A Discussion of the Elements of the Proposed
        Annex to the Declaration
        1. Purposes and Objectives of International
           Election Observation
        2. Respecting National Sovereignty
        3. Invitation of International Election
           Observers
        4. Obligations and Duties of Host Nations
           Requisite to the Acceptance of an
           Invitation
        5. Accreditation of International Election
           Observers
        6. An Observer's Mandate: Rights and
           Reach of International Election
           Observers
        7. … 

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