About Us

AEGEE Election Observation reports on the participation of young people* in elections across Europe.

 

In 21 election observation missions since 2014, AEGEE Election Observation has trained and deployed more than 400 young people as international election observers.

 

– HOW? –

AEGEE Election Observation organises election observation missions with young people from all over Europe**. In order to report on youth participation in the elections we observe, we interview a representative sample of relevant persons, organisations and institutions involved in the electoral process. On election day, our observers deploy to polling stations across the country to observe the opening, voting, closing and counting procedures.

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Objectives

   1. AEGEE Election Observation reports on youth participation in the elections observed.

Our reports address the following main questions:

  • Is the participation of young people (as both voters and candidates) proportionally higher or lower as compared to the overall population?
  • Do young people encounter any (perceived or manifest) obstacles to their participation?
  • Are there any initiatives (governmental or non-governmental) in place to promote youth participation?
  • How do the main stakeholders view the current situation? Which solutions do they pursue?

Reporting is based on two main sources: background research and stakeholder interviews. Relevant stakeholders include governmental institutions, political parties, non-governmental organisations, research institutes and youth representatives.

Based on stakeholders' statements and international best practice, AEGEE Election Observation formulates recommen-dations for the sustainability of youth participation in the electoral process.

   2. AEGEE Election Observation gives its observers the opportunity to collect field experience as Short-Term Observers.

AEGEE Election Observation was founded as an educational initiative, a purpose we have never abandoned. In the context of our missions, we train young people as international election observers. Accreditation is usually granted by the competent authorities. (Exceptions confirm the rule.) Once deployed, our observers will be able to put their newly acquired skills as Short-Term Observers to the test.

The election day observation methodology is adapted (with no substantial changes) from the OSCE's Election Observation Handbook.

 

– WHERE? –

AEGEE Election Observation generally limits its operations to the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe. This geographic scope represents an eligibility criterion for potential destinations of our election observation missions as well as for the selection of our staff and volunteers.

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MISSIONS

AEGEE Election Observation organises four election observation missions per calendar year; priority is given to national parliamentary elections. The destinations for these missions are chosen according to the following set of criteria:

  • logistical feasibility;
  • security situation;
  • sufficient time (at least three months) for research and training in advance of deployment;
  • written confirmation of the possibility of accreditation for our observers;
  • a basic level of democratic credibility attributed to the elections in question by relevant international stakeholders;
  • geographical balance between the various missions.

AEGEE Election Observation does not currently conduct so-called Needs Assessment Missions. Given our focus on youth participation in elections, every Member State of the Council of Europe potentially merits a visit.

 

– WHY? –

Young people are underrepresented in elections across Europe. This is a worrying reality observable in turnout statistics, candidate rankings on party lists and compositions of elected assemblies on all levels.

If young people are not committed to elections today, what will our democratic societies look like tomorrow?

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VISION

Understanding the critical issue of youth participation in elections requires a youth perspective.

Reports from AEGEE Election Observation Missions bring a new quality to the field of international election observation. In our missions, it is young people themselves who ask the questions, and it is young people who draw the conclusions from the answers they are given: a sharp analysis, free from partisan interests or diplomatic constraints, written by and on behalf of those who are affected.

July 2020 will see the publication of the Youth Election Observation Handbook, exhibiting the methodology that will position AEGEE Election Observation as the leading youth-led expert on youth participation in elections in Europe.

 

MISSION

AEGEE Election Observation currently focuses on the following main priorities:

  • completing the methodology for the observation and analysis of youth participation in elections;
  • testing that methodology in the context of six missions in 2019 and 2020;
  • building a network of partners and supporters;
  • enlarging the existing network of former and future observers;
  • securing long-term funding for the conduct of missions between 2020 and 2022.

Rapid development comes with teething troubles. We appreciate any form of feedback, encouragement or support!

 

* AEGEE Election Observations uses "young people" to refer to persons aged between 18 and 30 years. The only exception is "young candidates" which refers to persons aged between 18 and 35 years.

** "Europe" is used as a shorthand for "Member States of the Council of Europe". As a rule, contributors to AEGEE Election Observation Missions are either nationals of one of these states, or permanently based in one of them.