Last updated on December 17, 2013

As a growing number of countries at various stages of development consider the use of electronic technologies in electoral processes, they face opportunities and challenges.  This Guide was prepared by IFES and NDI to help election authorities, civil society, political parties and other stakeholders engage in inclusive, transparent and accountable decisionmaking, implementation and oversight of electronic voting and counting technologies. It is also intended to help inform international and local democracy and governance support communities in designing and implementing effective electoral assistance programs in countries adopting or considering the use of electronic technologies.   

The Guide is the product of close collaboration between IFES and NDI, each with complementary areas of expertise. It reflects IFES’ 25 years of experience – in over 135 countries – of strengthening electoral systems and building local capacity to deliver sustainable electoral solutions by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in political processes; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. It also draws from NDI’s 30 years of experience in international election observation and in supporting the efforts of political parties and nonpartisan citizen election monitoring groups in more than 125 countries to promote electoral integrity and popular political participation. 

Ben Goldsmith, IFES Electoral Technology Advisor, and Holly Ruthrauff, formerly with NDI’s Elections and Political Processes team, were the authors of the Guide. Ben primarily concentrated on issues related to the design and implementation of electronic technologies, while Holly focused mainly on issues related to the oversight of such technologies.  Ben has 15 years of experience advising and managing election administration projects in post conflict and developing democracies. Goldsmith has helped to conduct elections and provided technical assistance in various countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, Kenya and the United Kingdom. He is an expert on electronic voting and has advised electoral officials in several countries on the design and use of these technologies. He is the author of Electronic Voting & Counting Technologies: A Guide to Conducting Feasibility Studies and was the lead IFES researcher on the evaluation of various facets of the internet voting pilot in Norway. Holly has more than 15 years of experience with electoral assistance and observation. She has organized observer missions, developed more than 10 publications and handbooks for both international and domestic observers, and provided technical assistance to domestic observer efforts around the world through her work at NDI, Election Reform International Services (ERIS) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). 

Rakesh Sharma, IFES Director of Applied Research, and Michael McNulty, NDI Senior Program Manager in Elections and Political Processes, were the editors of the Guide and managers of its publication. Rakesh and Michael also drafted elements of the Guide. Pat Merloe, NDI Senior Associate and Director of Electoral Programs, provided guidance and editing throughout the drafting process. NDI Program Assistant Sunila Chilukuri and IFES Research Coordinator Ayesha Chugh supported the editors and played important roles in text revisions and additions. 

NDI’s Michael McNulty and IFES’ George Carmona conducted the Philippines case study and drafted the report. The Brazil case study was conducted and drafted by NDI consultant Ambassador Ecaterine Siradze-Delaunay and IFES consultant F. Daniel Hidalgo. The Netherlands case study was researched and drafted by IFES consultant Susanne Caarls and Guide co-author Holly Ruthrauff.  

IFES and NDI express appreciation for the valuable recommendations provided, in their personal capacities, by noted electronic voting and counting technologies experts Vladimir Pran, Democracy Reporting International; Jonathan Stonestreet; Rokey Suleman; Ole Holtved; Ronan McDermott, and Mike Yard.

The writing, editing, production and publication of this Guide were made possible by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We hope that those who use this Guide will contact IFES and NDI with any comments, suggestions and requests.


William R. Sweeney, Jr., President & CEO, IFES and 

Kenneth Wollack, President, NDI 

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