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» Programme : Cambridge Conference

Cambridge Conference of Election Commissioners from

South Asia Conference Hall, Pragati Resorts, Hyderabad

on 21and 22 January 2011

 

 

Thursday 20 January

 

Participants from Election Commissions and associated bodies arrive in Pragati Resorts, Hyderabad.  

 

6.30 p.m.        Cultural Programme.

 

7.30 p.m.        Informal buffet dinner at Parijata Lawn, Pragati Resorts.

 

 

Friday 21 January

9.00 a.m.        Convene in the Conference Hall, Pragati Resorts

                        (Tea and coffee will be served).

 

9.15 a.m.        Lighting of the lamp by the delegates.

 

9.25 a.m.        Welcome Address

 

Dr Anil Seal, Mr James Lyngdoh and Mr Karamjit Singh, on behalf of the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, and Mr TS Krishna Murthy, on behalf of the Foundation for Advanced Management of Elections (FAME), will welcome the participants.

 

9.50 a.m.        Introductory Session – Session I

 

In this session, each of the Election Commissioners will be invited to make a short opening presentation which summarises their remit and links this to themes which will be covered in the sessions to follow. 

 

The objective of the introductory session is to ensure that our informal conference has an overview, and a shared understanding, of the parameters which will govern discussions within the sessions which follow the introductory session. 

 

The introductory session will also serve as an opportunity for participants to remind themselves of the salient points in each nation’s responses to common challenges, help them identify the main features of these challenges and, at the same time, will give a chance to break the ice by getting to know each other or by renewing old friendships.

 

11.15 a.m.     Tea break.


11.30 a.m.     Voter Education – Session II

 

The session on voter education will focus on the issue of how programmes can best be designed to promote voter education and how they can be most effectively deployed to encourage electoral participation. If voter education is not within the formal terms of the remit of Election Commissions, what role (if any) can and should they play in this arena and who else should share responsibility for voter education, whether government, political parties, civil society, schools and universities, the media or non-governmental organisations?  What is ‘best practice’ in voter education and how can the same be defined and promoted?

 

1.00 p.m.        Lunch (followed by sessions III and IV)

 

2.15 p.m.        Voter Registration - Session III

 

The session on voter registration will focus on the important issue of how Election Commissions can ensure that electoral registers are accurate and complete.  The movement of individuals and populations, both within and between countries, the robustness of the registration process in combating fraud, the deployment of new technologies, whether biometric or others, and the extent to which existing administration records are used as the basic building blocks for accurate, up-to-date, and complete registers, are some of the common challenges faced by all Commissions, and are matters where guidelines on ‘best practice’ can usefully be discussed and put forward.

 

3.00 p.m.        Tea break.

 

3.15 p.m.        Voting Session IV

 

This session will focus on the issue of how Election Commissions ensure that voters are able to cast their votes in a secure, well organised and confidential setting, and the problems they face in trying to achieve these ends.

 

The administrative systems, utilising both permanent and temporary polling staff, the uses and potential abuses of technology, the training processes for staff, learning from the experience of previous elections, providing adequate physical security for voters and taking measures to deter possible fraud, dealing with the impact of money and muscle power, engaging with stakeholders, such as the media and political parties on polling day, and, indeed, in the run-up periods before it, and, above all, providing the leadership and logistical support to deal with any challenges and difficulties that arise unexpectedly, will be some of the themes on ‘best practice’ to do with the voting process which we shall discuss.  

 


7.00 p.m.        Assemble at the Lawns, Pragati Resorts.

 

7.10 p.m.        Arrival of the Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

 

7.15 p.m.        Welcome Address by Mr J M Lyngdoh.

 

7.20 p.m.        Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh will address the delegates.

 

7.35 p.m.        Presentation of memento by Dr Anil Seal to the Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

 

7.50 p.m.        Dinner.

 

 


 

Saturday 22 January (Day 2 morning - sessions V and VI)

 

 

9.00 a.m.        Convene in the Conference Hall, Pragati Resorts.

 

(Tea and coffee will be served).

 

9.15 a.m.        Counting of Votes - Session V

 

                        This session will focus on the significant issue of how Election Commissions can best ensure that the counting process and declaration of results are delivered in a manner that commands confidence among the electorate and also among political parties, the candidates standing for election, the general public and the media.  The aim must be to have in place secure administrative systems designed to guarantee the correct tallying of votes cast, both the total votes and those cast for individual candidates.  These systems must ensure transparency so that candidates and others, including the public and the media, have full confidence in the counting process.  This includes confidence in tried and tested procedures as well as new technology used to ensure accurate counting and also having robust procedures by which declarations of results are made in a timely fashion.  All of this requires the training of staff whose duty it is to superintend these processes.  These will constitute some of the themes governing ‘best practice’ which will be discussed in this session. 

 

11.00 a.m.     Tea break.

 

11.15 a.m.     Concluding Session – Session VI

 

This final session will be an opportunity for all our distinguished participants to reflect on the main issues discussed in various sessions, and to come to conclusions and drawing up guidelines on ‘best practice’. It will also give us an opportunity to assess the value of this ‘get-together’ and the utility of aiming to repeat this informal conference for Commissioners from the region at regular intervals (if not annually, perhaps once every two years), possibly in different locations in the subcontinent. 

 

The conference will also be invited to take this unique opportunity to identify other critically important themes, issues and challenges of common concern which the Commissioners of the region face in the particular contexts of their own countries.  With agreement, these matters could constitute the agenda of future meetings.

 

12.45 p.m.     Lunch

 


1.45 p.m.        Departure to the city for shopping and sight seeing by a Valvo Bus.  En route the delegates will halt at Necklace Road for 20 minutes for flagging off a rally (Green Rally) organized by FAME and Let’s Vote.  Visit to Salarjung Museaum, Charminar and shopping.

 

8.00 p.m.        Dinner at Paradise Restaurant, Secunderabad, famous for its Biryani.  (Return to Pragati Resorts after dinner).

 

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