GENERAL INFORMATION

Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO)

Address: Vas u. 6. 1/7/A, H-1088 Budapest, Hungary
Phone/Fax: 00 36 1 786 8298
E-mail: aceeeo@aceeeo.org
Website: www.aceeeo.org
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Strategy for 2014-2018

Strategic Plan of ACEEEO

1 January 2014 – 31 December 2018

 

Overview

This following strategic plan for the period 2014 – 2019 was developed through a participatory planning process involving ACEEEO members, Secretariat staff, and the association’s strategic partner IFES.  It reflects the dynamic environment in which the association operates and seeks to build upon strengths and opportunities while directly addressing weaknesses and threats in order to realize the shared vision of a strong regional association that is recognized as a technical leader in the field of elections, boasts an active membership, and is financial sustainable.  During the course of the strategic plan, the association will strive to achieve the following over-arching and mutually reinforcing objectives: (1) Strengthen technical leadership by the association and its reputation among external stakeholders; (2) Improve member services and the association’s reputation among its members; (3) Expand active membership and strategic partnerships; and, (4) Enhance the financial viability of the association.  The association developed its first strategy in 2006, which was refreshed in 2011. This strategy – through 2018 -- has been adopted by the General Assembly on 13 September 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

 

Organizational Background

The Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO) promotes institutionalization and professionalization of democratic election practices in the region as a non-profit, regional organization, which is independent of political parties and governments with a legal standing based on international law.  In 1991, senior election officials, government and civic education leaders, and academics gathered in Budapest, Hungary, for the Central European Electoral Systems Symposium. This historic meeting led to the founding of the Association, which meets annually to address current theoretical and practical issues related to elections in the region.   Comprised of practicing election managers, and officials our association is unique among many NGOs committed to electoral issues and we bring more than two decades of best practices and lessons learned.  Since its inception, the ACEEEO has expanded and diversified its services to include:  applied research, information dissemination, advisory services, training and professional development workshops, election observation, and exchanges. ACEEEO membership is open to electoral management bodies as institutions, individual experts and election professionals, and organizations supporting the electoral process. The association also plays a representational role on behalf of its members vis-à-vis other bodies and organizations active engaged in issues of democracy, governance, and public administration.  Currently, we have 24 institutional and associated institutional members (EMBs) and five supporting members and are comprised of the General Assembly, Executive Board, and the Secretariat under the Secretary General.

 

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Association is to provide a non-partisan forum, independent of national governments, for the exchange of information among election officials and experts throughout Europe to discuss and act upon ways to promote open and transparent elections with the objective of supporting good governance and democracy.

 

Values Statement

The Association and its members are committed to certain core values including:

  • Non-partisanship and independence of electoral institutions;
  • Professional and competent election management;
  • A public service orientation and accountability to voters;
  • An enabling environment for democratic elections;
  • Free, fair, and transparent electoral processes; and,
  • The spread of knowledge about election administration through the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

 

Vision Statement

ACEEEO is a strong organization, one that enjoys a positive reputation among its members and among other stakeholders.  It is a recognized leader in the field of election management in the region and is sought out as a strategic partner and a source of information on electoral process and practice.  An increasingly professional organization, the association exhibits active and integrated membership that shares knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned through its activities and by effectively harnessing modern information and communication technologies.   Financial viability and quality service provision is made possible by adequate, diversified, and stable funding.

 

Goal

To provide members with knowledge, skills, and tools to apply cutting edge and proven electoral solutions, address emerging electoral challenges, and advance and institutionalize democratic electoral processes and practices in their countries. 

 

Strategic Analysis

This strategic plan was informed by a series of member surveys, a participatory strategic planning workshop on 16-17 July 2013 (involving member representatives from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Russia, and consultations involving the Secretariat staff as well as IFES, which provided support to the preparation of the plan.  As part of this process, a strategic analysis was undertaken, the key findings of which include:

Results of Strategic Analysis

Strengths:

  • Membership comprised of election practitioners / professionals;
  • Shared perspectives and common frame of reference;
  • 20+ years of lessons learned in elections – cumulative experience of members; and,
  • Not a bureaucracy – Able to respond flexibly and nimbly.

Weaknesses:

  • Lack of sufficient and stable funding;
  • Inactivity among members; and,
  • Limited use of modern information and communication technologies.

Opportunities:

  • Link between resources and ability to seize opportunities;
  • Technology applications (both to elections and the functioning of the association);
  • Members’ best practices and lessons learned that can be broadly applied; and,
  • Possibilities to expand partnerships among various stakeholders active in electoral process.

Threats:

  • Impact of economic crisis on financing / fundraising
  • Greater competition
  • Democratic backsliding and disillusionment (declining voter participation)
  • Challenges to remaining a priority, interesting, and relevant

Survey findings, in particular, show that while the vast majority of members believe that the performance of the association has improved over the last five years, there remains room to improve its performance and reputation of members.

Association members and staff also identified a range of policy, institutional, and technical issues and priorities for the upcoming period.  Policy issues were limited to the treatment of membership dues within the association’s charter, while those of an institutional and technical nature were as follows:

Institutional Issues and Priorities:

  • Activating members, increasing timely and pro-active information-sharing by members; and their involvement in identifying strategic partners, funding opportunities, and potential projects;
  • On-going training and professional development needs;
  • Providing various types of opportunities for engagement, e.g. research, conferences and workshops, study tours / exchanges, fellowships and internships, election observation, and projects at a bi- / multi-lateral level among members in addition to the full membership;
  • Quality service provision and responsiveness to member needs;
  • More effective use of ICTs and better utilization of website for member services, promotion, and fund-raising; and,
  • Improved financial viability, i.e. sufficient, stable, and diversified funding including improved record of dues payment among all members.

Technical Issues and Priorities:

  • Vote counting and results transmission;
  • Technology and elections (trends, options, applications, security, effectiveness, reliability, and lessons learned);
  • Models and mechanisms for increasing voter participation (and access and inclusion);
  • Election complaints adjudication;
  • Money and politics, e.g. how to combat vote-buying and other illegal or inappropriate campaign finance practices;
  • Election official training; and,
  • Implications of increased voter mobility in the region, e.g. for voting abroad or advance / absentee voting.

 

Strategic Objectives and Approaches

 

Strategic Objective 1 - Strengthen technical leadership by the association and its reputation among external stakeholders.

Approaches:

  • Pursue networking opportunities and facilitate association representation at key international and regional events and activities and new avenues for cooperation;
  • Work to further position the association as a “one stop shop” for information about electoral institutions and processes in the region.
  • Pursue applied research, analysis, and / or publications on key electoral issues and trends in the region (see technical priorities above).
  • Revamp the association website to serve as a promotional tool and provide increasing access to experts and members as well as information and e-documentation about elections in the region.
  • Further develop efforts to capture impact and client satisfaction. 

 

Strategic Objective 2 - Improve member services and the association’s reputation among its members.

Approaches:

  • Regularly and systematically solicit member input.
  • Pursue a diverse set of activities and member services that might include:  Publications – including a quarterly newsletter and annual report, information dissemination, toolkits, conferences, workshops, study tours / exchanges, election observer mission, fellowships / internships, on-line resources, consulting / advisory services, vendor exhibitions, or other networking and professional development opportunities. 
  • Pursue activities and member services that are responsive to member identified priorities, for example vote counting, aggregation, and transmission of results; technology and elections; voter education and participation (including access and inclusion); political finance; election complaints adjudication; legal and regulatory frameworks; and election official training.[1]
  • Revamp the association website to serve as a more interactive, timely, and expansive tool for member services, sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and access to e-documentation (including print, audio, and visual materials).
  • More effectively utilize information and communication technologies, data-bases, and web-based tools.

 

Strategic Objective 3 - Expand active membership and strategic partnerships.

Approaches:

  • Promote the benefits of active membership, a high profile within the association, and presence on the association website.
  • Orient new EMB leadership on the association.
  • Expand and diversify efforts to engage inactive members.
  • Assess the feasibility of expanding institutional members, associate institutional members, and member supports with top priority given to professional institutions.
  • Encourage horizontal communication, information sharing, and joint initiatives among members, i.e. not just those organized by the Presidency and the Secretariat.
  • Introduce new and improved mechanisms to facilitate communications and on-going information sharing.
  • Increase and diversify involvement of members.

 

Strategic Objective 4 - Enhance the resource base of the association.

Approaches:

  • Revise rate structure for dues as necessary throughout the period covered by the strategic plan to reflect level of activity and operational expenses and further develop approaches to improve the collection of dues from members.
  • Introduce processes to further regularize and improve collection of dues
  • Expand and diversify vendor and donor support.
  • Increase members’ involvement in identifying in-country funding opportunities and in-kind support.
  • Explore other options for financing (fees for services, web-site based advertising, etc.)

 

Basic Assumptions

The successful implementation of this strategic plan is predicated upon several basic assumptions:

  • Democratic election processes will continue to be a focus of donors and implementing organizations that are critical to the support of the association’s projects and activities.  Funding for such projects and activities will continue to be available in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • The current level of active members will be sustained throughout the strategic planning period as efforts are undertaken to increase participation among non-active members.
  • Association members are prepared to contribute in a timely and proactive way to sharing of know-how, best practices, and lessons learned and to respond to requests for information for the benefit of the association as a whole.
  • Competition by existing and new electoral associations and groups dedicated to election management does not undermine the relevance or role of the ACEEEO.
  • The General Assembly approves adjustments to the rate structure for dues to keep pace with the level of activities and operational expenses.
  • The global and regional economic situation will improve during the course of the strategic plan thereby creating improved conditions for financing / fundraising.

 

Supporting Documentation

This strategic plan is further operationalized through the attached action plan and performance monitoring and evaluation plan (PMEP).

 


[1] This illustrative listing is based on feedback collected through member surveys, consultations, and the strategic planning workshop conducted in the summer of 2013.  Priority issues may change throughout the course of the strategic plan and thus will be monitored on an on-going basis by the Secretariat.