The Egyptian Association for the Support of Democracy (EASD) trained and deployed more than 5,000 observers to monitor last month's elections for Egypt's lower house of parliament. While noting improvements over the administration of the country's 2005 parliamentary and 2010 Shoura Council elections, EASD described the Nov. 28 poll as "one of the most controversial parliamentary elections ever held in Egypt." And it highlighted numerous violations that it said prevented voters from fully exercising their political rights. EASD observers estimated that 10 to 15 percent of eligible citizens voted compared to the 25 percent estimated by the government.
NDI provided technical assistance to help EASD develop short message service (SMS) digital mapping technology for its observation efforts. Election monitors at polling stations around the country filed reports via text message that were uploaded to digital maps on EASD's website. The speed of SMS messaging coupled with Egypt's wide ranging mobile networks ensured instant updates of developments during the voting period.
EASD's website tracked the type and location of election incidents and violations, which were mapped in real time. The site received more than 30,000 visitors the week after the election.
The site includes all of EASD's reports, as well as background information on the electoral law and government institutions, news updates, election results and statistics on the rates and types of incidents. The website also publicized an election hotline that citizens could use to report possible violations in locations with no election monitors and have questions answered in a timely manner.
NDI has worked with domestic election observers in Egypt since 1995 and in 2005 trained more than 8,000 volunteers for that year's parliamentary and presidential elections. NDI began working with EASD in 2005 and continued to support the organization and train observers for the 2008 municipal council elections, the 2010 Shoura Council election and the 2010 parliamentary election.
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Pictured above: The EASD website on election mapped the number and types of election-related incidents.
Published December 14, 2010