ISFED Launches Election Monitoring Under USAID’s Elections and Political Processes Program

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
ISFED staff present interim monitoring report during 2018 election cycle

Georgian voters are scheduled to go to the polls this October for the 2020 Parliamentary elections.  If conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner, these elections will be a significant step toward consolidating the country’s democratic development.  The elections are to take place under a reformed electoral system that will allow for a greater degree of choice and ultimately a more pluralistic parliament.  For voters to realize this opportunity, the work of local election observers will be crucially important both for ensuring free and fair conduct on election day and for maintaining the integrity of the pre- and post-election environment. 

On June 1, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a Georgian civil society organization, launched comprehensive monitoring of this year’s elections.  Under the umbrella of USAID’s Elections and Political Processes program, ISFED will monitor the election process on election day as well as during the pre- and post-election periods.  ISFED election monitoring is strictly non-partisan, reflecting the organization’s values and USAID’s commitment to impartial electoral and political programming.

ISFED has deployed 68 long-term election observers in electoral districts across the country.  These independent monitors will observe and assess the preparatory work of election management bodies and other relevant public institutions between now and the October polls.  They will also monitor the overall campaign environment for adherence to the electoral legal framework.  During the pre-election period, the findings will be published through a series of statements and monthly reports as well as on ElectionsPortal.ge.

On election day itself, ISFED will deploy an additional 1,000 short-term observers and 70 mobile teams in electoral districts throughout the country.  These observers will contribute to ISFED’s Parallel Vote Tabulation, which will verify election results reported by the election administration.  The monitoring process will continue in the post-election period, with a focus on observing dispute resolution processes in district election commissions and courts.  Comprehensive election observation findings will be published in a final report to be released in early 2021.

USAID’s partnership with ISFED aims to ensure more transparent and accountable elections in Georgia by providing citizens, political stakeholders, and Georgia’s international partners with an impartial assessment of the 2020 electoral cycle.  This oversight, like other activities conducted under USAID’s Elections and Political Processes umbrella, has the ultimate goal of leveling the electoral playing field to ensure elections are free and fair competitions between differentiated policy agendas that respond to the needs and interests of citizens. 

USAID/Georgia Mission Director Peter Wiebler elaborated on USAID’s Elections and Political Processes program in a 2019 interview:

“USAID has supported Georgia’s electoral processes for quite a while now. Now, we’re doing it in a different way than we did before. We’re announcing a program to strengthen Georgia’s democratically-oriented political parties, to help citizens engage more in electoral and political processes overall, and to strengthen electoral oversight so the entire electoral system has more integrity and better serves the will of citizens … Through our assistance, we’re helping Georgia achieve goals that its citizens have already set. Which party or parties lead Georgia closer to those goals, is for the Georgian people alone to decide.”

About USAID’s FAIR Elections Program Implemented by ISFED: Under the program, ISFED is conducting long- and short-term election observation, administering parallel vote tabulation to verify results, carrying out social media monitoring to counter electoral-political misinformation and propaganda, and engaging in numerous advocacy and voter education and outreach initiatives.  USAID’s FAIR Elections program has three goals: i) increase electoral and political accountability by providing impartial assessment of elections and political processes based on comprehensive and credible monitoring methods; ii) enhance the integrity of the election management bodies by facilitating the timely detection, reaction, and resolution of electoral irregularities; and iii) strengthen the electoral framework by conducting research, providing evidence-based recommendations, and public advocacy for electoral reform.  You can learn more about ISFED’s important work on behalf of electoral integrity on their website:  www.isfed.ge/eng.  ISFED election monitoring activities are also supported by the European Union.

Last updated: October 27, 2020

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