Special voting arrangements (SVAs) are designed to expand voting opportunities to individuals who are otherwise not able to vote and thus to facilitate the principle of universal suffrage. Additionally, tailored safeguards that protect the equality, secrecy and transparency of the vote and the integrity of the counting process are vital for successfully implementing these SVAs.
Over the past few decades, countries across Europe and around the globe have been increasingly adopting SVAs—particularly postal, early and mobile forms of voting. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated their use throughout the year 2020.
What are the SVAs that are most commonly used across Europe? How do various SVAs work to supplement the voting in polling stations on election day? What can we learn from past lessons to implement SVAs with integrity? How can SVAs be scaled up and applied to elections in a short time frame? What challenges do their application and adaptation in a limited time frame entail? To respond to these questions facing electoral management bodies (EMBs) and electoral assistance organizations, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO) convened a series of online webinars on postal, early and mobile forms of voting.
The webinars, which took place from 27 October to 17 November 2020, brought together representatives of EMBs and election experts from electoral assistance organizations. The webinars facilitated an exchange of views between experts in a small, closed discussion format to ensure open communication and allow for critical reflection. Around 50 representatives from EMBs and international electoral assistance organizations participated in each webinar. This report summarizes key insights and reflections from each of the three webinars.
Also available on the website of the International IDEA.