The United States International Center for Electoral Support (USICES) hosted a specialized training on Data Analysis and Management in Election Administration for officials of election management bodies. The training brought together chairpersons, commissioners, and senior level officials from election agencies across Africa. For 5 days, participants gained insights on the following topics:
- The election data concept and impact of election data in U.S. election administration.
- Designing Paper and Web-based Data Forms for Data Collection.
- Voter Registration and Data Collection beyond Voter Card Production.
- Communication with Voters: Designing Data Access Tools.
- Data and Electoral Conflict Prevention.
- Election Data Collection Sources, Techniques, Audiences, and Consumption.
- Pre-election period: System data assets, tools for resource management.
- Election Day: Data collection and command centers.
- Post-election: Telling the election story accurately for innovation, influencing policy, reform, and legislation.
Facilitators during the training were:
- Prof. Charles Stewart, Director of the Election Data and Science Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Tim Harper, Policy Analyst, Democracy Project at Bipartisan Policy Center.
- Henry Atem, Executive Director at the U.S. Int. Center for Democracy and Electoral Support.
- Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Director, Center for Civic Design.
- Tammy Patrick, Adjunct Professor, Academy for Elections Excellence, Humphrey School of Public Administration – University of Minnesota
- Jeffrey Carlson, Director of Election Education and Integrity, Creative Associates International.
- Michael Njang, Program Manager at the U.S. International Center for Electoral Support.
The training ended with the award of end course certificates and a panel discussion cohosted by the Department of African Studies and the Department for Democracy and Governance at Georgetown University on the “Impact of professional Election Administration in Promoting Democratic Accountability.” The panel discussion was moderated by Jeffrey Carlson, Director of Election Education and Integrity, Creative Associates International, and Prof. Jennifer Raymond Dresden, Associate Director, Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University.
Election officials are under more pressure than ever to conduct elections that are accurate, cost-effective and secure, and that bolster voter confidence in the results. Oftentimes election administrators are asked to weigh in on potential legislation or to review procedures to identify areas of opportunity for improvement and need to be able to objectively proceed with what is best based on sound, quantifiable data. The training provided participants with tools to collect reliable data that allow for:
- Identification of areas for improvement and spotting trends before problems become harder to address or the subject of public controversy.
- Comparisons within and between elections on possible best practices that could be implemented, or inefficiencies or inequities to be remedied.
- Provision of accurate information for voters, legislators, journalists, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders.
- Compliance with applicable laws to ensure they achieve the goals that made them necessary in the first place.