Kenya Election Observation Research
For Kenya’s 2013 presidential election, DI worked with researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to measure the effect of election observation and study voter perceptions of violence and intimidation, voter registration, and election fraud. We also advised the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission on mobilizing domestic election monitors. The DI-UCSD team worked with some 600 local researchers and pollwatchers.
These elections were the first since the horrific violence that followed Kenya’s last elections in 2007, in the wake of disputed results. After an internationally brokered power-sharing agreement, the country in 2010 adopted a new constitution that devolved substantial powers to lower levels of government, created new elected positions, established a new election management body (the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission or IEBC), and set up a two-round presidential election requiring a runoff if no candidate won a majority (as well as 25 percent in half of the country’s counties) in the first round. The elections pitted Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the country’s first president, against Raila Odinga, the sitting prime minister who had claimed he had been the rightful winner in 2007.
The DI-UCSD team complied and analyzed results from our research in Kenya to enable us to better assess the effectiveness of election observers and to understand voter attitudes. The findings informed DI’s efforts to improve international election observation, including through advocacy of greater adherence to established standards and adoption of new technologies and approaches.