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Groundbreaking Reports on Voter ID Issued

The Carter Center and the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network are pleased to announce the release of two new resources on voter identification processes and practices. The reports provide groundbreaking analysis of a range of critical electoral issues on voter identification, the right to vote, and related international standards and election administration practices. The Carter Center report includes a comparative analysis of voter identification processes in Africa and Latin America, while the ACE report focuses on the delicate balance between preventing fraud and protecting the right to vote.

The Carter Center's Voter Identification Requirements and International Law: An Examination of Africa and Latin America (PDF) is an in-depth report that seeks to examine voter identification laws and procedures in Africa and Latin America, provide a comparative analysis, and make some preliminary determinations as to whether existing practices comply with international public standards of universal and equal suffrage. The report provides an overview of the laws and regulations in nearly all of the countries in these two continents, analyzes the conditions that give rise to these practices, and details some of the challenges they can create for citizens. It includes several case studies representing the various types of voter identification systems and complexities that confront elections stakeholders in these regions.

Separate but related, The ACE Project brief, Focus On Voter Identification, posits that while effective systems to prevent fraud are critical to the legitimacy of elections, the voter identification process, when designed or implemented poorly, disenfranchises many voters. This brief looks at how ineffective voter ID policies deny citizens the ballot and who this impacts. It argues that disenfranchisement can occur when resources are not committed to making ID programs work; looks at groups this disproportionately impacts; and examines whether, under a cost-benefit analysis, certain types of ID regimes, particularly those making use of expensive biometric technology, make sense. It also looks at countries that administer their identification programs effectively and suggests the need for international principles for inclusive voter identification procedures.

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