Standardizing the Principles of International Election Observation
Misk, Jonathan, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
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. …