Carter Center Releases New Election Obligations and Standards Manual Ahead of Summit for Democracy

ATLANTA (March 27, 2023) — The Carter Center, with the support of the Embassy of Ireland in Zambia, is releasing a new edition of the Election Obligations and Standards (EOS) manual, with a launch event that will be held in Lusaka, Zambia, on March 28.

The launch will be a hybrid event, scheduled ahead of the second global Summit for Democracy, co-hosted by the United States and the governments of Zambia, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, and Republic of Korea. Discussion during the event will focus on the critical importance of broadly shared standards for democratic elections, especially given the current context of global challenges to democracy and elections.

“The Summit for Democracy meetings taking place this week are a critical opportunity to think collectively about how we can make election standards, rooted in international human rights laws, a reality for more people around the world,” said Carter Center Vice President of Peace Programs Barbara Smith.

The Election Obligations and Standards manual provides a detailed framework for assessing the democratic nature of elections, based on international standards rooted in human rights. It helps election observers, citizens, and researchers understand how fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to vote, freedom from discrimination, and freedom of assembly, apply to each part of the electoral process.

Many countries around the world experienced setbacks in democracy since the first manual was introduced in 2014. In addition, to address new developments and challenges that influence how we think about elections, the guide has been modernized to include updates on issues such as violence against women in politics, mis- and disinformation, accessibility for persons with disabilities, data privacy, and more.

“The Center’s work on Election Obligations and Standards is timelier than ever given the serious threats facing democracy globally,” said David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program. “We hope this handbook will be a helpful resource for those working to protect democracy and elections around the world.”

The manual complements the Election Obligation and Standards database, an online tool also accessible to the public through the Center’s website.

The Carter Center is a leader in election observation efforts, having observed more than 110 elections in dozens of countries. Since 2006, the Center has worked to build international consensus on election obligations and standards, developing tools and resources used by observers, analysts, and researchers around the world.


Contact: In Atlanta, Maria Cartaya,

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.