ECI hosts the 3rd International Conference on ‘Inclusive Elections and Elections Integrity’ as the lead for the Cohort on ‘Election Integrity’

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted the 3rd International Conference on the theme ‘Inclusive Elections and Elections Integrity’ in virtual format on 09 March 2023. ECI is leading the Cohort on Elections Integrity which was established as a follow up to the ‘Summit for Democracy’ held virtually in December, 2021.

Speaking on the pressing challenges before the Election Management Bodies, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar pointed out the harm done by some of the surveys and ranking agencies. The CEC said that the pioneering work of EMBs does not find mention in these surveys and rankings done by some organizations and countries with low inclusivity are ranked high. The flawed report causes more damage to the credibility of EMBs, he added. The CEC urged the participating EMBs to come up with essential parameters and standards which should guide such surveys.

Talking about the inclusivity, the CEC pointed out that India has 460 million women voters, which is almost equal to the number of men voters. In the last General Election to Parliament in 2019, more women than men voted. This is the level of inclusion, that India has been able to achieve, he said.

The first international conference of the Cohort was organized on 31 Oct – 01 Nov, 2022 at New Delhi on the topic ‘Role, Framework and Capacity of Election Management Bodies’ where nearly 50 representatives from the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of 11 countries participated.   The 2nd Conference on the theme ‘Use of Technology and Elections Integrity’ was hosted by ECI at New Delhi on 23-24 January 2023 wherein over 40 participants from 16 countries including Heads/Dy. Heads of nine EMBs or Election Authorities and delegates from International IDEA and IFES participated besides diplomats from 8 foreign missions located at New Delhi.

In his address, Shri Anup Chandra Pandey, Election Commissioner stated that the Election Commission of India has been working for Inclusive elections under premise of ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’. The Election Commissioner said that Our flagship voter education programme SVEEP connects with over 950 million voters spread over more than one million polling stations across the country. Shri Pandey informed that all the polling stations in India have been made accessible, special facilities are provided to PwDs and senior citizens. All women polling stations, polling stations managed by PwDs and young people are some of the initiatives.

In his address, Shri Arun Goel, Election Commissioner stated that Inclusive Elections are a critical building block of ‘Elections Integrity’. He added that many sections of voters, especially the women, transgender, PwDs, senior citizens, service voters, migrants, ethnic minorities and some other vulnerable sections of the society do face barriers in electoral participation and EMBs/EAs have an important role to play in inclusivity for such categories of the citizenry.

Shri Dharmendra Sharma, Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner and Conference Nodal Officer, ECI gave the Welcome address and talked about the outcomes of the first two Conferences. In the opening remarks, Mr. Ioannis Mathioudakis, Head of Coordination Division, M/Interior, Greece (Co-Lead),. Mr.  Mohammad Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius (Co-Lead) and Ms. A. Elizabeth Jones, Charge d’Affaires United States Embassy in New Delhi highlighted the importance of inclusivity.

The Conference included presentations by Mr. Jaime Garrido, Assistant Director, Australian Electoral Commission, Mr. Ion Mincu-Rădulescu, Permanent Representative of PEA of Romania to International Organisations/AWEB, Ms. Khushbu Agrawal, Programme Officer, International IDEA, Ms. Erni Andriani, Senior Program Manager, General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), IFES Indonesia and Ms. Bipana Sharma, Secretary,  Association of Youth Organization, Nepal (AYON).

The closing session was chaired by H.E. Mr. Mohd. Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius (Co-Lead ).  

A total of 59 Participants from 31 Countries/EMBs including Angola, Armenia, Australia, Canada, Chile Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominica, Georgia, Guyana, Kenya, Rep. of Korea, Mauritius, Moldova, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, St. Lucia, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland and Zambia as well as representatives of two International organisations from International IDEA and International foundation for Electoral systems and representatives from two Civil Society Organisations viz.    General Election Network for Disability Access in Indonesia and Association of Youth Organisations in Nepal participated in the Conference.  


‘Summit for Democracy’, was an initiative of US President and hosted in December 2021. The Prime Minister of India spoke at the Leaders Plenary Session on December 9, 2021. Following this Summit, a “Year of Action” was proposed with events and dialogues on themes related to Democracy.    The Summit also developed two platforms – ‘Focal Groups’ and ‘Democracy Cohorts’ to facilitate participation in the  Year of Action.  The 2nd Summit for Democracy is scheduled to be held on 29- 30 March 2023 and co-hosted by governments of Costa Rica, Rep. of Korea, Netherlands, Zambia and the US.  

ECI, as the lead for the Cohort on ‘Election Integrity’, has taken a collaborative approach and invited Greece, Mauritius and IFES to be co-leads for the Cohort. ECI has invited International Foundation for Electoral Systems and International IDEA, apart from EMBs and Government counterparts dealing with the conduct of elections worldwide.

As part of the ‘Summit for Democracy’ Year of Action, India through the ECI, is leading the ‘Democracy Cohort on Election Integrity’ to share its knowledge, technical expertise and experiences with other democracies of the world. ECI, as its lead, has   also organised four training and capacity building programmes during Nov 2022 – Mar 2023, under the aegis of the Cohort for over 60 officials from 46 Election Management Bodies (EMBs) across the world.