Assessing and Verifying Election Results, A Decision-Maker's Guide to Parallel Vote Tabulation and Other Tools
March 31, 2015
United States of America
This guide provides USAID Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) officers, donors, and other development stakeholders with information about activities designed to analyze, verify, or otherwise assess the credibility and legitimacy of election results. Despite being used with increasing frequency, election results assessment and verification efforts—especially their risks and potential impact—are often misunderstood. This guide discusses the purposes and functions of the tools and addresses these misunderstandings.
Throughout this guide we focus primarily on parallel vote tabulation (PVT) because it is the most widely used and, in most cases, the most definitive and effective results verification tool. This guide also includes exit polls and election forensics as tools that can be used in some contexts to help assess and understand election results. Importantly, this guide provides specific guidance on when to support efforts to assess or verify election results. In addition, it offers insight into when each tool is most useful in a given context, when it may be more appropriate to focus limited resources in other ways, and how to proactively design and manage these tools throughout the electoral cycle.