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03.04.2020, . 07:28

A Dozen Ideas For A Candidacy Handbook

For Subject Election Commissions
Of the Russian Federation
November 1996

Prepared
By Linda Edgeworth
Election Specialist

Introduction

As an election official, one of the most challenging aspects of preparing and conducting an election is maintaining fair. cooperative and responsive relationships with the all the candidates in the midst of what, by its very nature, is an adversarial political environment. In spite of all best efforts and dedicated commitment to administer the process fairly and competently, commission members often find themselves faced with a barrage of demands, questions and complaints from candidates and nominating organizations caught up in the heat of political competition.

With so much at stake, it is not hard to understand why candidates are sometimes so demanding. They have committed their resources, their energies and their futures in competing for the trust and support of the voters of their communities. For each of them, there is a lot vested in the outcome of the election. Some of the stresses they face are to be expected. However, sometimes their frustrations stem from unrealistic expectations, and a failure to fully understand the process and their rights and duties as candidates.

Election administrators are in a perfect position to ease some of the doubts and controversies that are likely to arise under such circumstances. As guardians of the process, and charged with the responsibility and authority to ensure equal conditions for candidates, election commissions must find ways to promote confidence and trust in the system on the part of all candidates.

One of the most important objectives of their efforts should be ensure that all candidates have equal access to the kinds of information and resources that they will need to fully understand the process so that they can participate in full compliance with the laws and regulations that apply. Preparation of a Candidacy Handbook offers a perfect opportunity to fulfill that objective.

This booklet offers 12 ideas as to how such a handbook might be put together. Hopefully, these suggestions will provide food for thought as Subject Election Commissions pursue their own plans for serving the candidates, and ultimately the voters, in their jurisdictions.

1. About The Election

One of the first topics that should be Q covered in a Candidacy Handbook is the election itself. Most electoral associations and electoral blocs will already have a good idea as to what the election is all about. But the target audience for the Candidacy Handbook will be much broader. Groups of citizens, and candidates who are seeking office for the first time may not be as familiar with some of the details as those who have participated before. In addition, some details about the election process have changed since the last election was held. So, it is a good idea to include a Q brief profile of the parameters that relate to the specific election which is being conducted.

The election profile could include some of the following details.

Date of the poll

Hours of operation of the polls

The Purpose of the Election

This discussion could include not only the listing of offices which are going to be filled, but also some information about the terms for which people will be elected. If the purpose of the election is to elect the governor of the oblast, for example, it would also be useful to remind readers that this person will also represent the oblast on the Federation Council.

Constituencies Involved in the Election

For the office of the governor, the entire oblast may be considered a single election district. However, if the election is for deputies to the parliament or council, this section should discuss how the oblast is divided in districts there are, and how many seats are allotted to each district. It would also be helpful to describe the general system of Q representation so the candidate has a general idea as to how many voters he or she will represent.

Who May Vote in the Election

In addition to a general statement about the basic eligibility requirements, the discussion should include information about circumstances which would result in voters being able to vote in certain races, but not in others, if several elections are being held simultaneously. For example, if the gubernatorial election is being held simultaneously with parliamentary elections or local elections, and a voter presents himself at a polling place in district where he does not reside, there may be applicable rules that dictate that while he is still eligible to vote in the governor's race, he would not be eligible to receive the parliamentary ballot. If the laws of the Subject make such a distinction, it should be described in the Candidacy Handbook.

Who May Be a Candidate

Obviously, one of the topics potential candidates will be most interested in is the qualifications or eligibility criteria that dictate whether or not he or she will be able to be a candidate. Special attention should be given to describing any residency requirements that are imposed. In particular, candidates should be given a clear statement that describes the duration of residency required. For example, information should describe whether the duration must have been met in a single, continuous period, or whether separate terms of residency can be accumulated to meet the total durational requirement. It should also explain whether the term of residency must be in the period immediately preceding the election, or whether post residency can be taken into consideration.

Who May Nominate a Candidate

The alternative methods of nomination should be described, including nominations by electoral associations, electoral blocs, voters' groups, and, if applicable, Q self-nomination. For each method, there should be a brief description of the steps involved. including initial registration requirements of the organization, the nomination application, circulation of petitions and registration of the candidate.

Rights of Candidates

A brief statement should be made about the status of registered candidates, and about their special rights and privileges. The section should also describe the rights of candidates to have agents (attorneys) to represent them on all matters relevant to their candidacy, members with deliberative vote on election commissions, and observers to monitor the process on their behalf on election day. A brief statement could also be included to describe general rights of candidates in the campaign process including equal access to mass media, and maximum limits of campaign funding.

Determining the Winner of the Election

This section should briefly describe any threshold requirements which apply in determining whether a valid election has been held, and which candidate has been elected. The conditions under which repeat voting will be required should also be defined.

2. A Calendar Especially For Candidates

One of the most important sections that should be included in a candidacy handbook is a calendar of key dates that specifically relate to the requirements and activities of nominees and their sponsoring organizations.

A review of the relevant election laws should serve as the foundation for developing this calendar. However, most election laws incorporate many, many deadlines covering a myriad of elements of the election process that may be far removed from those of most interest to the candidates. For example, the laws will generally include unrelated deadlines from those related to the calling of the election, to the formation of polling station election commissions, to the filing of budgetary and financial reports by election commissions identifying their administrative. In addition, the laws are not generally written in a chronological order. Rather, they tend to cover issues on a subject by subject basis. Then, too, the laws are likely to refer to deadlines in terms of a number of days prior to the election, leaving it to the reader to figure out what it means in terms of a specific election date. So, for candidates, the deadlines specifically related to their endeavors cannot always be extracted or understood easily. The Subject Election Commission can assist them, while at the same time reducing the number of questions that are likely to arise and closing the door to misunderstandings that can potentially lead to controversy, by creating a condensed calendar especially designed to serve the interests of candidates and their nominating organizations.

The law is not the only source from which key deadlines should be extracted. Often, regulations adopted by the Subject Election Commission establish the time frame in terms of specific dates. The Commission's regulations may also identify administrative deadlines that are also likely to be relevant to the candidates as they carry out their nomination, petition and campaigning activities. These should also be included in the Candidates' Calendar.

The deadlines selected for the Candidates' Calendar should be listed in chronological order. It would also be helpful if the calendar identified the statutory or regulatory reference on which the deadline is based. If more than one law applies, then they should both be cited to remind candidates that there is a full body of laws that govern the process. A statement of statutory or regulatory authority would reinforce the expectation that the candidate or nominating organization is responsible to become familiar with the laws and regulations and is solely responsible for compliance with their requirements.

Although the primary emphasis should be placed on providing the legal deadlines affecting candidates as they are nominated, are circulating petitions, submitting completed petitions and documents, or engaging in campaign activities, there are also other deadlines and time frames that will be of interest to candidates. Certain important legal deadlines, although not directed specifically to candidates, could be useful to them in focussing their campaigns. For example, it would be helpful for candidates to know the date by which voter lists will be available for public scrutiny, and the date selected for the drawing of lots for the placement of their free announcements on state radio and TV. They will also have a keen interest in information regarding the schedule for the post-election reporting of final results.

Sample Format For A Candidacy Calendar

CANDIDACY CALENDAR
FOR THE OFFICE OF ________________________
(Insert Date)
Election of the__________________ Oblast of the Russian Federation

Deadline Date

Required activity

Legal Reference: (Article of Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights)

Legal Reference: (Article of Subject or Local Law or Regulation of the Subject Election Commission)

 

Date by which candidate must have established residency in relevant jurisdiction

   
 

Date by Electoral Association must have been registered in order to participate in election

   
 

Earliest date by which Electoral Associations and Citizens' Groups may hold meetings to decide on nominating a candidate

   
 

Date by which Blocs must be formed

   
 

Deadline by which Nomination Applications must be submitted by Electoral Associations, Electoral Blocs or Citizens' Group

   

Within ___ Days of Submission of Application

Deadline by which Election Commission must accept or reject nomination applications

   
 

Deadline by which Election Commission will issue registration certificates to authorized representatives

   
 

Dates on which Subject Election Commission will conduct training for signature collectors:
_____________at _______(Location)_______
_____________at _______(Location)_______
_____________at _______(Location)_______

   

Within ___ Days of Rejection of Application

Deadline by which rejection of nomination application may be appealed to the Election Commission or the courts

   

30 Days Prior to the Election

Deadline by which supporting signatures and candidate's consent to run for office must be submitted

Article 19

 
 

Deadline by which Election Commission will make decision regarding registration of the candidate

   
 

Deadline by which Election Commission will issue notice citing grounds for rejection of the petitions

   
 

Deadline by which decision to reject a petition may be appealed to the Election Commission or courts

   
 

Date by which Election Commission will issue registration certificate to the candidate

   
 

Official beginning of campaign period

Article 26

 
 

Date by which notice of registration of the candidate will be made in the mass media

   
 

Date by which candidate must submit names and information on agents (attorneys)

   
 

Date by which candidate must notify relevant commissions regarding the appointment of their deliberative voting members

   
 

Date by which candidates must establish special electoral fund account

   
 

Date by which electoral funds allotted by the Subject Election Commission will be transferred to candidate's electoral fund

   
 

Periodic dates on which reports of campaign contributions and expenditures must be reported to Subject Election Commission:
__(Date)__ To be submitted by __(Entity)___
__(Date)__ To be submitted by __(Entity)___
__(Date)__ To be submitted by __(Entity)___

   
 

Periodic dates on which reports of campaign contributions and expenditures must be reported by relevant election commission in mass media
__(Date)__ To be published by __(Entity)___
__(Date)__ To be published by __(Entity)___
__(Date)__ To be published by __(Entity)___

   
 

Date on which lots will be drawn for free air time on state radio and TV

   
 

Date on which voter lists available for public scrutiny

Article 8

 
 

Date on which Polling Station Election Commissions must notify voters of date and place of voting

Article 30

 
 

Dates on which relevant Election Commission will conduct training for observers:
____________at_______(Location)_________
____________at_______(Location)_________
____________at_______(Location)_________

   
 

Date by which ballots will available at relevant election commission offices for advance voting

   
 

Date on which advance voting begins

Article 30

 
 

Date on which ballots distributed to polling stations

   
 

Date on which public opinion polls and forecasts of election outcomes election must cease

Article 26

 
 

Date on which campaigning must cease

Article 26

 
 

ELECTION DAY

   
 

Deadline for completion of summarized results:
(Date)
District Level Results
(Date)
Territorial Level Results
(Date)
Subject Level Results

   
 

Deadline for publication of results:
(Date)
District Level Results
(Date)
Territorial Level Results
(Date)
Subject Level Results

Article 33

 
 

Deadline for publication of final results based on protocols of subordinate commissions

Article 33

 
 

Date by which registration certificates will be issued to winning candidates

   
 

Deadline by which candidates must file their final campaign finance reports to relevant commissions

Article 28

 
 

Deadline by which election commission must publish campaign funding report of candidate in mass media

   

3. Definition Of Terms

As professionals, members of the Subject Election Commission are familiar with a number of technical terms associated with the election process which may be new or subject to misunderstanding among candidates and other election participants. This is especially true when individuals and organizations are seeking to participate for the first time. Providing a list of terms with clear definitions can serve to enhance participant knowledge of the system, while at the same time help to avoid miscommunication or confusion. A review of the laws themselves is a good place to start in developing a list of terms which may need clarification.

Even some of the common terms that seem obvious may fuel some controversy if they are not defined clearly. One example that illustrates this point is the term «campaign period.» Throughout the Russian Federation, the laws generally dictate that candidates are able to begin their campaigns on the date of their registration. However, in actual practice there is usually some expense incurred prior to that time. and media coverage of events and proposed nominees tends to begin early in the process, especially during the circulation of petitions. In order to avoid potential complaints and allegations of impropriety, officials may find it necessary to make certain distinctions that still comply with the mandate of law, but also address the realities of publicity and media activity prior to the date of a candidate's registration.

Terms that need to be clarified might include the following:

electoral association;

electoral bloc;

public association;

electoral district;

voter list (electoral roll);

supplementary voter list (electoral roll);

member of election commission with deciding vote;

member of election commission with deliberative vote;

authorized representative;

observer;

authorized agent (attorney);

advance voting;

mobile ballot box (mobile voting);

nomination application;

registration certificate;

support signature sheets (petitions);

campaigning;

campaign period;

state radio and TV;

electoral fund;

campaign funds;

propaganda material;

spoiled ballot;

invalid ballot;

canceled ballot;

repeat voting (run-off election).

4. Contact List

Throughout the entire election process, candidates and their authorized representatives will want to be in direct contact with the various election commissions with whom they will be involved. To the greatest extent possible, the Candidacy Handbook should include a complete list of names of Subject and Territorial Election Commission members as well as the addresses and telephone numbers of their headquarters offices.

The listing should also give their hours of operation, not only preceding the election, but also for the period after election day. through to the publishing of final results. Post-election contact information is particularly important to ensure that candidates have access to protocols and summarized results in the period immediately following election day. Access to these officials may also be necessary to provide opportunity for follow through on complaints filed relative to the conduct of the election or reporting of results.

5. A Checklist Of Documents Required In The Process Of Running For Office

As an aide to nominating organizations and candidates in ensuring that all the required documents are filed properly and on time, the candidate handbook could be enhanced by the inclusion of Nomination Checklists. Such checklists would serve as a quick-reference reminder to electoral associations, blocs and citizens nominating groups, as well as candidates, as to what documents need to be submitted at each point of the process. In general, there are three categories of submissions which are required:

documents related to the nomination application;

submission of completed petitions; and,

campaign disclosure documents.

Depending on the type of nomination being forwarded, there are different documents needed. For example, the forms and documents required from a bloc seeking to forward a candidate are usually more extensive than those required of an electoral association.

Some of the information which will be required will be submitted on standardized forms prepared by the Subject Election Commission. Ideally, these forms will be self-explanatory and will provide sufficient information on the face of the form to guide organizations in their proper completion. They will also make it clear as to what signatures are required. Other documentation which must be included in a particular submission will not be standardized, but will be provided by the organization from their own records. A checklist in an easy-to-use format can be a useful tool to candidates and their supporting organizations to help them make sure their submission is complete and that they have not left anything out.

SAMPLE
DOCUMENT CHECKLIST
FOR THE NOMINATION OF CANDIDATES
(Date) ElECTION OF_____________________________
_____________SUBJECT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

NOMINATION APPLICATION
For Electoral Associations and Electoral Blocs

Listed below is an informal checklist to assist electoral associations, electoral blocs their candidates in making sure that all required forms are submitted to the Subject Election Commission in the proper sequence and by the deadlines established for this election, it is recommended that documents be: submitted as early as possible in order to avoid the last minute rush that can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, confusion and missed opportunities. Make sure that all documents are complete and properly signed.

FORMS AND DOCUMENTS

LEGAL DEADLINE

DATE FILED

Protocol of Meeting or Conference at which Decision to Nominate Was Made

(Insert Date)

__________

Copy of Electoral Association's Registration (If Nomination is forwarded by Bloc, provide copies of registrations of all public associations forming bloc.)

(Insert Date)

__________

Copy (or Extract) of Electoral Association's Charter on the Right to Participate in Elections (If Nomination is to be forwarded by Electoral Bloc, include copies (extracts) of Charters of all public associations forming the electoral bloc.)

(Insert Date)

__________

List of Electoral Association's or Bloc's Authorized Representatives

(Insert Date)

__________

Powers of Attorney for Authorized Representatives

(Insert Date)

__________

Document proving Candidate meets residency requirements

(Insert Date)

__________

______________________________________

(Insert Date)

__________

6. Laws And Regulations

At the basis of every election is the system of laws and regulations that underpin the process. For elections in the Subjects of the Russian Federation, these laws represent the foundation principles established in the Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights of Citizens, as well as the full complement of local laws enacted by local legislative bodies. In addition, to fill in the gaps, to offer clarification where the law is vague or unclear, and to provide procedural detail, these laws generally vest authority with the Subject Election Commission to adopt regulations, and issue instructions and other normative acts. Although regulations and instructions may cover a wide variety of subjects, undoubtedly, some will be adopted to provide specific guidance to candidates and their nominating organizations.

For the electoral associations, blocs and citizen's groups seeking to nominate a candidate, and for the candidates themselves, it is very important that they have access to all the laws and regulations that will apply. Obviously, access to all laws related to the elections should be available through the office of the Subject Election Commission. However, ideally, those that pertain specifically to candidates and their nominating organizations should be standard part of a Candidacy Handbook. The unique circumstances within a specific Subject will dictate the laws and regulations that should be included.

Inclusion of the regulations of the Subject Election Commission is a particular important component because it is usually the regulations that provide the detailed guidance that candidates will need to fulfill all their obligations under the law. Making sure that they are adopted early enough in the process to be in place prior to the time they are actually put into effect, and ready by the time a Candidacy Handbook is published means that the Subject Election Commission will have to plan well ahead. Ideally, regulations should be drafted, reviewed and adopted well before the initial deadline for any activity or procedure to which they pertain.

Generally speaking, at the very least candidates should be provided copies of:

Law on Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights;

Oblast or local law governing the specific election;

Regulations governing gathering signatures on nominating petitions;

Regulations governing the granting of free air time on state radio and TV;

Regulations regarding campaign financing and reporting;

___________________________;

___________________________.

It is equally important to recognize that there are a number of other local and federal laws which could ultimately come into play as the election unfolds, in spite of the fact that their relevance may not be immediately obvious. For example, The Civil Code of the Russian Federation may be invoked in cases where a candidate's campaign involves an insult to a person's honor, dignity, or professional reputation. Provisions of the federal Law on Mass Media could have some significance in relation to access to free air time on state radio and TV, and the rights and responsibilities of editors and journalists. Although it may not be feasible to provide the entire text of these laws, it would be helpful if the Candidacy Handbook at least made reference to some of the other laws with which candidates should become familiar. A brief synopsis of relevant provisions could be cited. At the very least. candidates should be directed to other potential legal references so that they are forewarned about their responsibility to acquaint themselves with other provisions of low which could impact their campaigns and pre-election activities.

(A sample list of other federal laws that could potentially play a peripheral role in the election process is provided as an Appendix.)

7. Nomination And Pre-Election Campaign Forms

It goes without saying that samples of all the forms necessary to the process of nominating a candidate and during the on-going participation in the pre-election campaign should be provided in a Candidacy Handbook. Some of the forms required will be formally designed by the Subject Election Commission. Depending on the resources of the Subject, these forms will actually be provided for use by the candidate or the nominating organization. In other instances, a sample of the form is provided, but the candidate or organization is responsible to duplicate them at their own expense. Regardless of which alternative applies to a particular Subject, to the maximum extent possible, every form should be designed so that it is virtually «foolproof.» It should be incumbent on the Subject Election Commissions to make sure that each form is self-explanatory. Ideally, each form should include succinct instructions. These features are particularly important with regard to critical forms where failure to complete it properly or submit it on time could result in the rejection of the candidate's nomination. One form that must be designed and explained with great care is the petition form on which voters affix their signatures in support of a candidate. On the petition form. and for any other required form. for that matter, there should be little guess work as to:

who is responsible to complete the form;

who is eligible to participate;

what must be entered into each filed;

what information is mandatory and what, if any, may be omitted;

what signatures are required;

whether they must be completed in ink or whether pencil is acceptable;

how errors in entries may be corrected;

what certifications may be necessary;

the manner in which they are to be compiled; and,

the deadlines by which they must be submitted.

The format of other documents that are required may be left to the discretion of the candidate or organization nominating the candidate, with only loose guidance as to what information must be provided. Even with these kinds of letters or documents it is sometimes a good idea to provide a sample of an acceptable format to help ensure that all required information is provided, and that there is some uniformity to the submission.

One example would be providing a sample of a letter or form on which the nominating organization would submit its list of authorized representatives. Generally speaking, election laws tend to dictate the type of information which must be provided related to each authorized representative.

An illustration of a sample letter would assist them in ensuring that they are not remiss in providing all that is required. This is the kind of measure that can help alleviate some of the omissions which could result in an organization's application being rejected or being delayed in processing.

8. Candidate's Biographical Statement

Typically throughout the Russian Federation, materials are prepared by the election commission which reflect the biographical statement of the candidates. The most common use is for printing of posters which are displayed throughout the jurisdiction. In order to provide some uniformity in the manner in which these statements are submitted. it can be useful to provide a format and some guidelines as to when and how these biographical statements are to be submitted. It can also be beneficial to allow candidates some discretion as to the type of information they may have included in their biographical statement within some uniform parameters.

If a Subject Election Commission implements such a procedure for the filing of biographical statements, it should be announced well in advance, and should be included in the Candidacy Handbook.

SAMPLE
GUIDELINES FOR CANDIDATE'S BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT

Each candidate for elected office may provide biographical information for inclusion on posters and other materials to be prepared by the Subject Election Commission for the pre-election publicity regarding the election, The candidate's biographical statement is designed to acquaint voters with the candidate's background. Some of the information to be provided is dictated by law. ( Article ______ of the Law on the Election of ______.)' Each candidate is also .allowed to provide information in his or her own words. The following guidelines are provided to assist you in preparing your biographical statement.

DEADLINE FOR FILLING

Your biographical statement must be submitted simultaneously with the petitions containing signatures of voters in support of your nomination, and your Consent to be a Candidate. The deadline for your submissions is _______________.
Failure to submit your biographical statement by the deadline will result in the Subject Election Commission having sole discretion preparing your biographical statement for use on posters and other materials. The information prepared for these purposes will be based on information provided on other nomination documents.

REQUIRED INFORMATION

Family Name, Given; Name; Patronymic Name
Date of Birth
Place of Residence
Place of Employment
Occupation

AFFILIATION

At your discretion (or as per legal requirement,) identify the electoral associations with which you are affiliated

PERSONAL STATEMENT:

In addition to the required information; each candidate may also provide a brief statement not; to exceed __(Insert #)___ words to describe your education, career history and ;qualifications. The statement is to be biographical in nature and may not include campaign slogans, messages or promotion of political programs. Upon acceptance, your statement will not be subject to amendment or editing for content.
Personal statements in excess of __(Insert #)___ words or containing prohibited propaganda content will be rejected. If your personal statement is rejected you will be notified with 3 days of receipt. Notification will include the grounds for the rejection of your statement. Rejection of your personal state may be appealed to the Subject Election Commission or to the court

WITHDRAWAL OR CHANGE

Your personal statement may be withdrawn but not changed. Should you choose withdraw your statement, your withdrawal must be submitted in writing over the signature of the candidate not later than 5 p.m. on the 3rd day following the date your statement was submitted.

9. Information And Resources Available To Nominating Organizations And Candidates

Candidates and their supporting organizations are always looking for information and materials to aide them in their quest for the popular vote. They have a genuine need for all the resources available that will help them in defining their campaign strategies. It is not surprising that they look to the offices of election and governmental authorities for data and materials that will assist them in not only fulfilling the legal requirements. but also in understanding their constituencies and the political environment in which they will be competing.

In a Candidacy Handbook it is a good idea to provide a list of the materials and information that will be made is available to candidates and their supporting organizations through the office of the Subject or Territorial Election Commissions, as well as the offices of the oblast or local administrations.

Obviously, it is critically important that election commissions and executive authorities maintain their neutrality in their service to the voters and candidates in their jurisdictions. However, there are materials that are appropriately made available to candidates .and nominating organizations, as long they all have equal access. And. by presenting them in a standard list and making them available to all participants through the Candidacy Handbook ensures that equality.

Most of the standard materials should already be available through normal channels. It may require modifying Some items into a suitable format for distribution, or adjusting time lines to make them available on an appropriate schedule. However, it should not place to much of an additional burden on administrators since, more than likely, they are already accounted for in plans for election preparation or the conduct of normal government business.

This does not necessarily mean that miscellaneous materials and information have to be provided free of charge. It is not uncommon for officials to apply moderate fees to cover reproduction costs for items which are normally used only internally. Nor is it necessarily required that all information be made available immediately upon demand. Frequently officials will set a schedule for actual delivery within a few days of the initial request, to allow staff members adequate time to put the materials together. These are attractive alternatives that ensure equal access to public information while at the same time addressing the realities of budgetary and staff resource constraints facing election commissions and agencies of local government. By providing a list of available information which also contains fees and information about how requests will be processed, all candidates and nominating organizations are afforded equal opportunities to take advantage of such offerings or in choosing not to, at their own discretion.

The resources made available need not be limited to written materials. One of the most beneficial services Election Commissions can make available to candidates and their supporting organizations is access to training sessions in which they or their representatives can participate. Some sessions could be designed specifically to meet the needs of this target audience. Special sessions could be developed to assist them in understanding their rights and responsibilities in specifically focussed subject areas. In particular, it could be helpful to conduct workshops or orientation sessions geared to the interests of focus groups such as the following:

signature collectors, on their obligations in meeting legal requirements in gathering signatures;

support organizations in the rights and responsibilities 'of election observers;

agents (attorneys) of the candidate on campaign financing and reporting requirements.

In some instances, it might be useful to invite representatives of support organizations to attend training sessions that are already being conducted for election commissions at various levels. For example, the attendance of authorized representatives at training sessions for polling station election commissions could be most beneficial in preparing them to train their observer delegations to understand election day procedures. This kind of involvement could also prepare them to observe the counting process competently. By involving candidates' representatives in these kinds of training sessions, many of the misunderstandings that occur on election day can be avoided because observers will better understand what they see on election day.

The same could be true for training sessions for Territorial Commissions when procedures for the summarization of voting results and the use of the State Automated System are being covered. By inviting authorized representatives to these sessions, election commissions can ensure that they will be better prepared to incorporate the information they get from formal sessions into their own training programs they organize for their candidate's observer delegation.

SAMPLE
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO
NOMINATING ORGANIZATIONS AND CANDIDATES

The following election information and materials will be made available to registered candidates within 3 business days of receipt of a written request. A nominal fee will be charged for certain items to cover the cost of reproduction. Payment items for which a fee is charged will be due in full at the time the materials are picked, up at the appropriate office.

RESOURCE OR INFORMATION AVAILABLE

SUBJECT ELEGTION COMMISSION OFFICE

OBLAST ADMINISTRATION:

FEE

Election Laws

x

 

0

Regulations

x

 

0

Candidacy Handbook

x

 

0

Nomination Forms

x

 

0

Election Results from Prior Election

x

 

(__) per page

Voter Lists

 

x

(__) per page

Demographic Information & Public Surveys

 

x

(__) per page

District or Precinct Maps

 

x

(__) per page

List of Polling Stations

x

 

(__) per page

Quick Reference Guides:
Voting Process
Counting Process
Observer Guides

x

 

(__) per copy

Training/'Orientation Sessions:

   

0

Signature Collectors_(Date)_
Election Observers_(Date)_
Campaign Finance Reporting_(Date)_
PSEC Training for Election Day_(Date)_
State Automated System_(Date)_

Other:

     

Other:

     

10. Campaign Financing And Reporting

One of the most complex issues facing candidates relates to their accounting and reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures. A section of the Candidacy Handbook should be devoted to this subject. At the very least, the information should include discussions of the following.

The amount of funding which will be allocated from the state budget.

When and how the state allocation will be transferred to the candidate.

Requirements regarding the opening of a special electoral fund account.

The section should include information as to when and where this account must be established. Candidates should also be given clear instructions regarding how contributors may access this account for the purposes of transferring their donations. A special notation should be made as to any restrictions which may apply regarding the acceptance of contributions in cash. Legal requirements regarding the fact that all receipts and expenditures for campaign purposes must be made through this account should be emphasized. Candidates should also be alerted to any reporting that will be required of the banking institution where the account is held.

Use of Personal Resources

If candidates are allowed to use their own resources for their campaigns, any limits which may apply should be described in detail. The information should also provide guidance regarding the use of resources, commodities, facilities or staffing from one's employer for the purposes of the person's campaign, especially, if the candidate is a business owner or self employed.

Contributions from Other Sources

A listing of the other sources from which o candidate is eligible to accept contributions should be provided. The instructions should also include statement defining the maximum amount of funding that can be accepted from any single source. Any requirements for refunding excessive contributions should be described. Should there be any restrictions prohibiting expenditures for certain activities or commodities, they should also be described.

Restrictions on Contributions

The section should clearly identify sources from which campaign contributions may not be accepted, such as foreign entities, religious organizations and bodies of state and local government. A special notation should be made regarding the accounting for non-monetary or in-kind contributions where no money changes hands, but supplies, commodities. products or services are donated free of charge or in trade.

Maximum Limit on Spending

Candidates should be advised as to the maximum spending limit which is imposed for the purposes of conducting his or her pre-election campaign. It should be made clear that this limitation includes spending of funds received from all sources. The guidelines should also describe the manner and time frame in which unexpended funds must be accounted for and refunded or redistributed after the election is over.

Reporting Requirements

Ideally, every form used for the accounting or reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures should be provided in the Candidacy Handbook. Where feasible, examples of completed forms and instructions should also be illustrated so that candidates can be fully informed as to how the forms are to be filled out. If necessary, terms should be defined, and explanations should be provided as to what information is to be entered in the various fields. The information provided should also include a clear statement as to the deadlines by which various reports are to be submitted.

Violations and Penalties

Candidates should be apprised of activities or spending practices that constitute violations of the law. They should also be informed about ramifications which will result from such practices, and criminal and civil penalties which may be applied. Similar information should be provided regarding failure to report campaign contributions and expenditures on a timely basis, or submitting reports that are found to be incomplete or fraudulent.

Contact Information and Assistance

It would be extremely helpful if candidates were given the name and contact information from the division of the election commission which will ultimately be responsible for monitoring campaign funding and expenditure activities, and reporting and disclosure. If at all possible it would also be helpful for this division to be available to answer questions and to assist candidates in complying with the legal requirements.

11. Local Ordinances Activities Affecting Campaign

To the extent possible, it would be helpful to remind candidates of local ordinances that may apply with regard to posting and distribution propaganda materials in the various communities where they will be campaigning. Where feasible, the candidate handbook could include the text of ordinances which dictate prohibitions or restrictions as to where campaign posters can be posted, whether street banners can be hung, or where rallies and public meetings can be held.

Obviously, however, it would take considerable coordination to ensure that all applicable ordinances were included in the handbook. But, even if it is not possible to include the actual text of the various ordinances which may apply, the candidates' handbook could at least provide a reminder that alerts candidates to the importance of their own research so that they can avoid violations in the course of their local campaigning.

12. What Every Candidate Wants To Know

There is so much information that candidates and their supporting organizations need to have if they are to understand the process and fully comply with the requirements, that it is difficult to find a way to include it all in a single Candidacy Handbook. Supplemented by the kinds of information that have been suggested in the earlier sections of this booklet, perhaps one of the most efficient methods of relating the information candidate's will find important to have is to present it is a question and answer format.

Preparing a Candidacy Handbooks this type of format encourages election administrators to put themselves in the candidates' shoes. From this perspective, commission members can come to sense what issues will become significant to candidates and which procedural details may not be sufficiently clear. Looking at the process from the candidate's point of view can also prove to be a useful tool in determining where regulations and instructions may be necessary.

At the same time some very important objectives can be met. To a major extent, commissions can avoid being surprised by questions that had not even been considered and that can sometimes lead to confusion and controversy when they arise after the process is already underway. They can also ensure that formalized, thoughtful answers to a broad scope of questions can be prepared in advance. Finally, they can make sure that uniform responses are given to all candidates globally, rather than on a one-by-one basis, thereby avoiding circumstances where some candidates benefit from information which is inadvertently withheld from others.

What follows are some examples of questions that candidates are likely to raise. They are offered only as a starting point to help Subject Election Commissions develop their own lists which may bear more relevance to their own jurisdictions.

In reviewing these questions, others will come to mind. The review may also point to procedural issues that still need to be resolved, or to gaps or loopholes in the system that have not yet been addressed. Most importantly, they are intended to help election commissions in their efforts to build more positive and cooperative relationships with candidates who are;

better informed;

better prepared to comply with the legal requirements; and,

more confident in the integrity of the system and fairness and neutrality of the election commissions who are there to serve them.

12. What Every Candidate Wants To Know

General Administrative Information:

1. Has the Subject Election Commission prepared a calendar of their activities? Can I get a copy so that I will know about important dates and events that will affect my candidacy or may campaign?

2. Are there deadlines that I should know about which have been established by the Subject Election Commission in their prepared instructions, official orders, or regulations?

3. May I obtain copies of laws, orders, regulations or other normative acts from the Subject Election Commission? If not. where else may I get a copy? If copies are not available for me to keep, has the Subject Election Commission maintained a list of dates on which laws. orders, or other normative acts have been published in the gazette so that I can make sure I have not missed any?

4. Where can I get copies of all the forms I need in order to become a candidate and conduct a pre-election campaign? Will I be able to get sufficient quantities of the necessary forms or will I be responsible to reproduce my own copies?

5. What other kinds of information or resources may I obtain from the Subject Election Commission which will help me understand the election process and my legal obligations as a candidate?

6. Are there other statistical or informational materials available from the Commission or from the local administration which would be important for me to have as I prepare my campaign? What are they and where may I request copies?

Eligibility to Be a Candidate:

1. What qualifications or requirements must I meet in order to be eligible to be a candidate?

2. If there is a residency requirement does it mean that I have to hove resided in the jurisdiction for the whole required length of time without a break? Or, if I moved out of the area for certain periods and returned can I add the times I was a resident together to meet the requirement/

3. Does it matter when I was a resident of the jurisdiction as long as meet the durational requirement?

4. What documentation is acceptable as proof that I have resided in the jurisdiction for the required length of time?

5. Are there any other circumstances or restrictions 'which would make me ineligible to be a candidate? (My current employment, for example?)

The Nomination Process:

1. What are the steps in the nomination process if I am nominated by an Electoral Association? If I am nominated by an electoral bloc? If I am nominated by a group of citizens?

2. Do I have to be nominated by an organization, or may I apply for nomination on my own?

3. May I be nominated by more than one group?

4. What documents are required as part of the nomination application process?

5. Do all nomination documents have to be submitted all at once, or may they be submitted at different times, as long as all required documents are submitted by the deadline?

6. In order to be registered as an authorized representative of a nominating organization, what information is required? On what basis would registration of an authorized representative be denied?

7. If some of the authorized representatives submitted by my nominating organization are denied registration can I still be registered as a candidate? Or will the entire application be denied?

8. Can authorized representatives be dismissed and replaced? If so, what is the process?

9. What are the rights and responsibilities of authorized representatives?

10. How soon will I know if the nomination application submitted on my behalf is accepted?

11. If the nomination application submitted on my behalf is rejected, do I have any recourse?

12. May I be nominated by more than one organization? If so, how is it determined which organization will actually be certified as the official nominator of my candidacy?

13. Do I have to be a member of an electoral association to be nominated by that electoral association? Do I have to be a member of at least one of the public associations making up a bloc to be nominated by the bloc?

14. How early can the nomination process be started?

Circulation of Petitions:

1. How many signatures must be gathered in support of my candidacy? Is there an upper limit as to how many signatures may be submitted?

2. Who is eligible to circulate a petition on my behalf?

3. May I or my nominating organization hire people and pay them to gather signatures in my behalf?

4. Where may signatures be collected? Places of employment? Public meetings? Street corners? Universities and institutes? Government offices?

5. Are there any restrictions as to places where signatures may not be gathered?

6. For the purposes of subscribing to my petition, is a person allowed to sign on behalf of other family members?

7. If a voter makes a mistake when signing my petition, how may it be corrected?

8. What rules will be followed by the election commission in verifying the signatures submitted on my behalf?

9. How will the commission make decisions as to whether a signature will be rejected?

10. Will errors in my petition cause it to be rejected, as long as the minimum number of correct signatures are submitted on time? Or, will errors or rejection of some signatures cause my entire petition to be rejected in spite of the fact that the required number of valid signatures remain?

11. If a collector or authorized representative makes a mistake in certifying a petition page, will it cause all the signatures on that page to be rejected? Will such an error cause all other pages or books certified by the same collector or authorized representative also be rejected?

12. If my petition is submitted before the deadline and errors are found, will my organization be given the opportunity to correct the errors as long as the corrected petition is submitted before the deadline?

13. During the circulation of my petition, certain costs may be incurred. Are they considered part of campaign funding? Do I have any obligation to account or report these expenditures?

14. If I want to print a biographical statement about my qualifications to hand out to voters while signatures are being gathered, am I allowed to do so? Are there other kinds of publicity or materials that I can use to let people know I have been nominated and am seeking their support on my petition?

15. Am I allowed to give interviews to the press about my intentions to be a candidate and my efforts to gather signatures in support of my petition? If so, are there restrictions on what kinds of statements or appeals I can make?

16. If my petition is rejected, how can I appeal the decision of the commission? What rights or opportunities will I have to present my case as to why the decision was incorrect or unfair?

17. When may I file such an appeal? How long will it take to resolve the dispute?

Registration as a Candidate:

1. What documents will I receive to certify my registration as a candidate?

2. Will the media be given formal notice of may registration as a candidates?

3. Once I am registered, what rights or obligations do I have regarding my current employment? Is relief from my current position mandatory? bo I have any security that my post will still be available for me after the election?

4. As a candidate do I have any special rights as far as transportation is concerned?

5. Will I be entitled to any financial allocation from the electoral budget for the conduct of my campaign? How much will my entitlement be?

6. When can I expect the funds to be made available?

7. Am I entitled to any special status with regard to immunity from arrest or detention as a registered candidate? Under what circumstances could I be arrested, detained or subjected to civil or criminal liability?

8. If I must withdraw my candidacy, what steps must I follow and by when must I make my decision?

9. If I must withdraw, what rights does my nominating organization have to field a replacement candidate?

10. Once I am registered as a candidate, may my registration ever be rescinded? If so, on what grounds?

My Pre-Election Campaign:

1. Will any campaign materials announcing my candidacy be prepared and paid for by the election commission? If so, what are they? How and when will they be posted or distributed?

2. Will I have any say as to what information is printed about me in materials prepared by the election commission?

3. What kinds of activities may I engage m to promote my campaign?

4. Will any debates or public forums be arranged by the election commission or any other state agencies in which I will be entitled to participate?

5. Will there be television programming organized by the election commission on which I will be entitled to appear beyond my allotted time for my campaign messages?

6. Will I be entitled to any free air time on state radio? On State TV? In the state press? If so, how much time or space will I be allocated?

7. How will my announcements be produced for use of my free air time? Will I have to prepare my materials for live broadcast or will I be able to use prerecorded materials? And. for paid air time?

8. How will the dates and times of my broadcasts be determined?

9. Must I use my free air time all at once or may I divide it into shorter increments which appear more frequently?

10. Am I entitled to any free space in the print media?

11. May I purchase air time and print space above an beyond the free time allocated to me?

12. What are my rights regarding air time and space in the independent media?

13. Can independent media not affiliated with any specific party refuse to allow me to buy time for additional coverage of my campaign? What if they are accepting advertising from other candidates or electoral associations or blocs?

14. Will my text or message be subject to censorship? If so, will the rules be formalized and published so that I will know what kinds of messages will be restricted and the grounds on which my materials may be edited?

15. Will I have the opportunity to be advised of any editing that is done? Will I have the opportunity to appeal any decision to edit or cut my material before it is aired or printed?

16. What information must be included in my materials in my acknowledgment of sponsorship or responsibility for them?

17. If I want to organize a rally or public event, what steps must I follow to ensure that I am in compliance with the rules? To whom must I apply and what information must I provide?

18. In organizing a rally or public event, how much advance notice must I give? Will I have to pay for the facility made available for such an event?

19. Are there kinds of activities in which I may not engage during the campaign? If so, what are they?

Campaign Financing and Reporting:

1. How much may I spend on my campaign?

2. May I use my own funds to pay for my campaign?

3. May I accept contributions from other sources? If so, from whom may I accept contributions to support my campaign? From whom may I NOT accept contributions to support my campaign?

4. May I maintain my campaign funds personally, or must I open up a special bank account to hold my campaign funds? If so, where?

5. May contributors give me funds in cash, or must they make a deposit directly into may special account?

6. May I pay campaign expenses in cash?

7. What kind of accounting records do I need to maintain on the funds in my campaign account?

8. How often do I have to report my contributions and expenditures?

9. How do I report non-monetary donations, such as donation of free printing of a flyer?

10. May I use my employer's telephone, copy machine, office space or staff for activities involved in promoting my campaign?

11. If my nominating organization wants to produce materials or purchase air time or newspaper space on my behalf, would that be considered part of my maximum allowable campaign costs? Even if they pay for it out of their organization's budget?

12. How are my contributions and expenditures monitored?

13. Are my contributions and expenditures considered public information? Are they reported in the mass media? If so, by whom and when?

14. If an error is found on my financial reporting, how may I correct it?

15. What penalties can be applied if I fait to report, or my reports are found to be inaccurate?

About My Agents. Deliberative Voting Members and Observers:

1. How many agents (attorneys) may I have to represent my interests throughout the course of the campaign?

2. How do I go about getting my agents (attorneys) registered?

3. What are the rights and responsibilities of my agents (attorneys?)

4. Are my agents (attorneys) entitled to any special privileges during the course of the campaign?

5. May I replace my agents (attorneys) if I believe it is necessary to do so? If so, how do I go about it?

6. By when must I appoint my deliberative voting members to serve on the various election commissions? What information must I provide?

7. What are the rights and responsibilities of deliberative voting members?

8. What information, documents or records are my deliberative voting members entitled to receive upon request?

9. Are there any sessions or meetings of their commissions that they are not entitled to attend?

10. Is there any information which my deliberative voting member is not entitled to receive relative to the activities or decisions of the election commission on which they serve?

11. If necessary, am I entitled to recall and replace my deliberative voting ' members? If so, what steps must I follow to make appropriate changes?

12. What are the rights and responsibilities of observers I may appoint?

13. Where and when are they entitled to be present to monitor the process on my behalf?

14. What protocols, documents or records are my observers entitled to request?

15. What kind of documentation or identification must my observers be prepared to present when they appear at their posts?

16. If one of my observers notices activities or witnesses procedures or decisions they believe to be improper, what should they do?

Complaints and Violations:

1. If I feel that I have been aggrieved or denied my rights under the law, how and to whom may I appeal?

2. If I fail to get a satisfactory solution, is there a higher authority to whom I may take my case?

3. If someone accuses me of a violation, what rights do I have to defend myself?

4. If I believe an opponent is committing a violation, how and to whom should I report my concerns? What kind of evidence should I be prepared to submit? How will such matters be dealt with?

5. Are there formalized procedures which will be followed by election commissions making decisions on complaints and appeals? If so. how can I get a copy?

6. If my observers or deliberative voting members have been denied their rights or access to information to which they are entitled, how and to whom should I file an appeal?

7. Is it possible for my nominating organization to file an appeal on my behalf?

8. If my agents (attorneys) or authorized representatives observe violations, how and to whom should they report such instances? How will these instances be investigated and resolved.

9. What steps will be taken to ensure that resolution of a complaint I submit is achieved in time to be meaningful since the election period is so short?

APPENDIX
Sample Index of Other Laws
That Could Impact Candidate's
Participation in the Election







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