ISO Standards for Electoral Bodies

ISO Standards for Electoral Bodies

ISO Standards for Electoral Bodies 

The US election is all the buzz today, and the incumbent President Donald Trump and the President-elect Joe Bidden are trending furiously. 

Elections are part of countries’ processes, and with each cycle, the people have a chance to demonstrate their democratic right and choose the leaders they want. The technical specification ISO/TS 54001 is all about elections. Let’s explore.

What is the ISO/TS 54001?

ISO/TS 54001 is a technical specification based on ISO 9001/2015. It is developed by the Organization of American States, in partnership with a group of electoral experts. The ISO/TS 54001 was approved by 42 out of 71 member countries, following a two-year vetting process. They arrived at this decision after they felt the need for electoral bodies to develop a quality management system. This standard outlines the design and implementation of such a system.

What does the ISO/TS 54001 specify?

For an electoral body that seeks to get certified for this standard, they will need to:

  1. Demonstrate their ability to manage an election through secret ballot-Here the electoral body must provide a conducive voting environment. The process involves delivering supportive equipment to ensure that all voters have enough time and privacy.
  1. An election is considered successful when it fulfils the following:
  • It is inclusive – Here, the electioneering process needs to ensure that there is equal opportunity for voters of all walks of life to participate. Authorities are required to mitigate any reasons or barriers that can prevent this. This includes grounds based on religion, tribe, sex, old age, disabilities, and linguistic barriers.
  • Transparent – Each step in the election should be open to scrutiny by the involved stakeholders. Stakeholders also have the right to carry out independent verification of the process.
  • Accountability -This mostly involves the conduct of electoral officials, government security organs, political parties, and candidates. It is upon them to ensure that the rights of the citizens are not violated in any way. They must also follow the procedure on ways to deal with anyone who perpetrates criminal acts.
  • Competitive – Here, the electoral body must ensure that citizens have the right to register political parties, or associate with those who best represent their interests and campaign freely. Their names or symbols be visibly present on the ballot paper.
  • Be willing to demonstrate continuous improvement in their electioneering process while observing an established legal framework.
  • Endeavour to earn and sustain the trust of its citizens, political organizations, candidates, observers, and other interested parties. This can be achieved by implementing an electoral quality management system.

What is the scope of the standard?

The standard envisions to install a QMS that outlines all the electioneering processes. The key electioneering stages are:

  • Voter registration
  • Registration of political parties and candidates
  • Electoral logistics
  • Vote casting
  • Vote counting
  • Declaration of results
  • Electoral education
  • Campaign financing oversite
  • Resolution of electoral disputes

Where can an electoral body get the standard?

An external certification body in line with ISO/TS 54001 should be able to help. Contact your nearest ISO certification body to get yours.

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