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OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Recognizing that democratic elections form the basis for legitimate government, the OSCE observes elections throughout its 57 participating States. It also provides technical assistance to improve the legislative and administrative framework for elections in specific countries.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights observes elections to assess the extent to which electoral processes respect fundamental freedoms and are characterized by equality, universality, political pluralism, confidence, transparency and accountability. The Office also supports authorities in their efforts to improve electoral processes and to follow up on recommendations by ODIHR election observation missions, by reviewing election-related legislation, providing technical expertise and supporting the activities of citizen observer groups. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly leads short-term OSCE observer missions.


Some OSCE field operations carry out elections-related activities, including training for election commission members, media and police, as well as voter education initiatives. They do not, however, take part in election observation missions in their countries of operation.


A number of OSCE field operations work in the area of elections and focus on:


Advising election commissions;


Application of international standards and good practices;


Improvement of electoral administration;


Technical reviews of elections;


Reform of electoral codes;


Consultations among stakeholders of the voting process;


Training, performance reviews and evaluations;


Supporting and engaging with international networks;


Strengthening the participation of women in elections;


Awareness-raising campaigns on voter rights and electoral procedures;


Supporting NGOs observing local and national polls; and


Establishing voter lists.