This handbook serves as a guide for domestic observers on how to use the international standards in their daily work.



Handbook for Domestic Election Observers, Council of Europe 2014 (ENG)

Editor: Marie‐Carin von Gumppenberg
Contributors: Fabio Bargiacchi, Tim Baker, Igor Gaon, Marie‐Carin von Gumppenberg, Milica Kovačević, Mathieu Merino, Andria Nadiradze, Eva Palmans, Vladimir Pran.


The handbook "Using International Standards: Council of Europe Handbook for Domestic Election Observers", serves as a guide for domestic observers on how to use the international standards in their daily work.

The Council of Europe compiled this handbook within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Facility, a programme funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. 

The handbook is divided into four parts: Introduction, International Standards, The Election Cycle and Annex. The part “International standards” is composed of two chapters: “What international standards are we talking about?” and “What are the main principles of international standards?”.

The part on the Election Cycle is composed of two chapters: “Why focus on the entire election cycle?” and “How can international standards be integrated into the election cycle?”. The second chapter “How can international standards be integrated into the election cycle” examines how to integrate international standards into the legal framework, strategic planning, the training of observers, internal and external reporting, as well as post‐election assistance. In the Annexes, the following information can be found: reporting guidelines, selected literature, abbreviations, as well as data about the authors.

This publication serves not only as a reference for domestic election observers, but also for governmental officials, political parties, election officials, voters and civil society organisations who plan to implement election activities and who are inclined to integrate international standards into their election activities. The handbook could also be useful as a training tool for future domestic election observers.