Electoral Observers


Electoral observation is fundamentally an exercise in support of democracy. Electoral observers are the key to the long-term sustainability of democratic electoral processes. As such, electoral observers can play a critical role in helping to allay fears and uncertainties about the electoral process, increasing voters’ and parties’ confidence in the legitimacy of the elections and electoral institutions, and reinforcing the work of domestic observer groups and other domestic stakeholders involved in conflict prevention and election management activities.

Electoral observers serve as impartial witnesses who can assess whether the results of an election truly reflect the will of the people. Impartial observation of the electoral process is essential in enhancing the transparency, and therefore the credibility, of electoral processes. National and international electoral observers are important elements of the process of ensuring the integrity, transparency and legitimacy of any election. The EC and VEO invite and accredit domestic and international groups or organizations that wish to deploy observers for the registration period, the campaign and polling, counting and tallying. The VEO provides observers with relevant information regarding the electoral process through briefings and information packs. Additionally, the EC issues a Code of Conduct for observers, stating the rights and responsibilities of the observer groups.

Electoral observers have the right to:

  • observe pre-polling day activities, as permitted by law;
  • observe the proceedings at polling stations, including the opening and closing procedures, as well as the counting of ballots;
  • make notes and watch polling procedures;
  • ask questions of poll workers as long as they do not interfere with the conduct of any part of the polling process.

Electoral observers must:

  • maintain proper personal behaviour and respect others, including exhibiting sensitivity for local cultures and customs;
  • always respect the laws of the country and the authority of the EC and the VEO;
  • always act impartially, objectively and ensuring accuracy in their work. Observers must maintain strict political impartiality at all times, without exhibiting any bias or preference regarding individuals contesting the elections, and ensuring that the observations are accurate;
  • never interfere with the electoral process or the work of the electoral authorities and officers in the field.

Electoral observers may not:

  • interfere with the conduct of the election in any way; presiding officers are entitled to determine whether a person is interfering with the conduct of the election;
  • physically handle any polling materials or equipment without the express permission of the presiding officers;
  • move or rearrange tables, chairs, or polling booths at the polling station;
  • sit at the official worktables or view confidential voter information on any document ot computer terminal;
  • communicate with voters inside a polling station, by encouraging them to vote for or against a person or a measure or regarding the voter’s qualifications to vote;
  • directly challenge a voter;
  • display any campaign material or wear campaign badges, buttons or apparel;
  • assist in the counting operations at the polling station;
  • prevent other observers from observing materials or the polling or counting process.

Electoral observer groups must provide an observation report, with recommendations, to the EC and the VEO at the end of their observation work.


Domestic and international organizations interested in observing any election in Vanuatu need to contact the VEO and apply for accreditation. Once the documents are duly presented, the VEO will issue the accreditation to the organization, who will present a list of observers. The VEO will then issue the corresponding badges to allow the observers to conduct their observation duties


Election Observation is important for a number of reasons. It
  • Enhances public confidence in the electoral process;
  • Encourages the electoral authorities to remain independent and uphold good practice;
  • Promotes accountability and transparency;
  • Eases political tensions;
  • Deters improper practices;
  • Enhances the credibility of the electoral process;
  • Assesses the legitimacy of the electoral process and the outcome in accordance with the national laws and internationally accepted standards.
Electoral observers play an important role in enhancing democracy in Vanuatu. The observation process is a vital part of elections and aims to ensure they are conducted in accordance with the procedures and laws of Vanuatu. This handbook outlines that process.


The Ni-Vanuatu legislative framework sets out for an independent electoral management body, composed of two separate but inter-related institutions: the Electoral Commission (EC), a policy-making, oversight body, and the Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO), a corresponding executive, operational arm. 

Read more about VEO


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