GOLOS’ ELECTION MONITORING PRINCIPLES

28 ноября 2007 г.

“GOLOS” (Voice) is an independent Russian civic organization founded in 2000 to defend voters’ rights and contribute to the development of the civic society in Russia. “GOLOS” has a largest and most geographically widespread election monitoring network in the country (it unites 281 NGO and has offices in 40 regions). Over the years of its existence, “GOLOS” has monitored more than 50 elections (from municipal to regional), including 4 federal campaigns, and trained over 15 000 independent observers all over the country.

GOLOS’ ELECTION MONITORING PRINCIPLES
“GOLOS” (Voice) is an independent Russian civic organization founded in 2000 to defend voters’ rights and contribute to the development of the civic society in Russia. “GOLOS” has a largest and most geographically widespread election monitoring network in the country (it unites 281 NGO and has offices in 40 regions). Over the years of its existence, “GOLOS” has monitored more than 50 elections (from municipal to regional), including 4 federal campaigns, and trained over 15 000 independent observers all over the country.

“GOLOS” issues statements covering the results of its election observation, including messages from its hot-line “Transparent Elections” (http://88003333350.ru), and gives its assessment to the various stages of the electoral process in Russia using international standards of Free and Fair elections and norms of Russian electoral legislature.

In 2007–2008 “GOLOS” carried out election monitoring project of the State Duma and Presidential campaigns – “Transparent elections – 2007–2008”. In order to monitor Duma campaign “GOLOS” deployed 40 long-term observers in the regions where “GOLOS” had regional chapters. In order to observe the electoral process on the Day of Elections- 2nd of December, “GOLOS” deployed approximately 2500 mobile correspondents, each of whom were able to cover up to 10 polling stations.

From the beginning of January 2008 “GOLOS” Association conducted long-term monitoring of the Presidential campaign in 38 regions of Russian Federation. On Election Day of March 2, 2008, “GOLOS” carried out mobile observation in thirty one region and stationary observation in four regions (Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Voronezh and Chelyabinsk). In total 1500 activists were involved. In each of them correspondents of Grazhdanskiy Golos (Civic Voice) newspaper were also sent to territorial election commissions (TEC): in the majority of regions correspondents covered nearly every TEC in the regional capital and in Moscow – every other TEC.

Main components of election monitoring carried out by “GOLOS” include:

- Long-term observation – by monitoring pre-elections period, with focus on work of Regional Elections Commissions, media abuses and abuses of administrative resource, “GOLOS” assesses electoral campaigns and distributies its findings to wider public (domestic and international media, political parties, NGOs, election administrations, government officials, local authorities and to all interested voters).

- Voters education – through discussions, field activities and expert round tables “GOLOS” is educating voters regarding electoral procedures, changes in elections law, most common irregularities and the importance of voting.

- Hot line – throughout electoral campaigns “GOLOS” runs a free federal “hot-line”, in order for voters and monitors to get in touch with the organization and report violations or irregularities observed in their regions. The messages from the “hot-line” are posted on the web-site http://88003333350.ru as they are being received.

- Short-term observation – “GOLOS” trains observes-media representatives, who access polling stations on the Election Day and observe opening, voting and closing procedure, as well as vote count, transfer of protocols to territorial elections commissions (TEC) and vote tabulation in the TECs.

“GOLOS” issues statements on regular basis covering the findings of its election monitoring efforts.

As an organization that respects international standards of impartial domestic elections observation, one of our most important characteristics is political neutrality. “GOLOS” is trying to ensure that all of its observers and activists are following the rules listed below.

During election monitoring period especially “GOLOS” observers and activists can not:

- serve as organizers/participants of the political parties events (field actions, pickets, demonstrations etc);

- make statements, which do not correspond or are contradictory to the goal of “GOLOS” activity;

- participate as organizers in election campaign of the political party/candidate;

- agitate for/against political party/candidate;

- collect signatures in support of political party/candidate;

- invite to events (round tables, debatable clubs) representatives of only one political party;

- begin events (round tables, debatable clubs) without naming the entire list of the invited representatives of the political parties;

- invite to participate in the observers’ trainings members of only one political party;

- enter into the managing bodies of any political party;

- serve as paid members or managers of the pre-election headquarter of the political party/candidate.

“GOLOS” associates can and/or should:

- participate in political events;

- be regular members of any political party;

- become members of other NGO and citizen coalitions.

Breaking the rules may lead to the possible loss of the position held within the organization.

When conducting election monitoring “GOLOS” uses international standards of Free and Fair elections (UN Declaration of Human Rights – 1948, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – 1966, Inter-Parliamentary Council Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections – 1994, 1990 Copenhagen Document) as well as the norms of Russian legislature for the assessment of electoral processes and conditions.

All “GOLOS” observers are required to sign the Observer’s Code of Conduct, which, among other things, obligates them to remain true to such election monitoring principles as impartiality, objectivity, non-interference and professionalism, and requires that observers always obey the law.

2007–11–29, upd.: 2008–11–14 15:03:14