FEFA has so far observed the audit & invalidation process and has regularly shared its observation findings & recommendations with the Independent Election Commission and other stakeholders to help maintain transparency of the process and to bring about necessary reforms.
FEFA’s findings indicate that some improvements have been noticed in the process and believes if the strong presence of UN specialists and national & international observers continues until the end of the process the absence of the two campaigns in the process will not be as damaging. FEFA believes the following recommendations will help improve the special scrutiny of ballots:
1- Appointment of chief electoral officer is vital for better management and administration of the process. FEFA recommends the acting CEO to undertake necessary measures to ensure 1; the audit process starts and ends on time 2; observers have access to all the information processed in tally center 3; conduct internal monitoring to make sure IEC staff perform their duties accurately & impartially and 4; that procedures are equally applied in all audit stations in order to enhance credibility and transparency of the process.
2- The IEC Secretariat is recommended to shift the IEC staff from one team to another every day in order to prevent staff from bias judgments.
3- Lack of specific timeline for audit & invalidation process is a detrimental issue. FEFA recommends the technical teams of IEC and UN to provide the timeline as soon as possible and share it with stakeholders and the public.
4- IEC and UN must conduct daily assessment of the process and hold coordination sessions with national & international observers to ensure that all those involved in the process perform their jobs impartially and that the procedures are applied equally in all stations.
5- According to recent agreements, UN specialists enjoy the competency to provide necessary technical consultation and participate in revision process of audit findings. At this critical time, UN is expected to play its role properly on behalf of both campaigns and help accelerate the process.
6- FEFA urges UN to increase the numbers of its electoral specialists according to the number of working teams in warehouses. UN must ensure the assigned tasks; observation of the process, revision and invalidation of votes happen based on accepted procedures.
7- FEFA considers the presence of IECC observers useful in the process and urges this commission to assign enough observers to monitor the process based on their mandate and competencies to help increase the credibility of process.
8- National and international observers must behave based on the observer’s code of conduct and avoid interference in the process.