As part of effort to enhance electoral integrity and promote democracies across the world, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in partnership with Yiaga Africa during the week hosted representatives of fifteen (15) countries at the Global Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Academy to enhance the integrity of election day process through citizen observation. The academy which was held from Tuesday 21st June to Thursday 23rd June, 2022 provided a platform for member countries implementing the PVT to share experience and chart pathways to improving the role of systematic election observation in improving electoral integrity.
Speaking during the academy, NDI senior advisor on elections, Richard Klein appreciated the effort of Civil Society Organisations deploying the PVT across the world on their effort in promoting electoral integrity. He said the academy aims to chart pathways of protecting the rights of election observer groups especially in closing and closed spaces.
During his remark, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo urged participants to reflect on the state of democracy across the world while situating the PVT in the context. He decried the gradual loss of faith in democracy saying the hope of democracy lies on the shoulders of Civil Society Organizations across the world.
Itodo charged member countries to raise the electoral integrity index of their respective nations through the Parallel Vote Tabulation election observation methodology saying “your task is to increase the electoral integrity quotient of your countries”. “Election observation is a risky and thankless job and so be prepared to call names but don’t be discouraged because this is borne-out of the patriotic zeal you all have for your countries”, he said.
He said “you carry the burden of your country on your shoulder, you bear the burden in the cause of your deployment of the PVT”. He said, the burden will make the citizens have hope that their rights will be protected.
“In the course of your observation, you will build power and become a reference point. Information is power and you may have information that nobody else has, thus what you do with such power will determine your sustainability in this sector”, he concluded.
The PVT academy exposed participants to various tactics of election observer recruitment, polling unit sampling, data analysis amongst other rudiments of the systematic election observation methodology. Participants also dissected issues around plans and strategic communications to enhance better understanding of the PVT.
In the end, participants who mainly represented countries like Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, United States, Cambodia, Armenia, Senegal, amongst others were urged to build partnership that empowers community, inspires a generation and the people while fostering and building solidarity.