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Organization of American States (OAS)

Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI)
Department of Human Development, Education and Culture (DHDEC)
Educational Portal of the Americas (EPA)

Secretariat for Political Affairs (SPA)
Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO)

Ref: VOTREG-E101.10


Title: Developing Strategies to Improve Voter Registries in the Americas: A Course in Voter Registration Policy and Practice¹ - 1st edition

Study Venue: The course will be delivered entirely online (Internet) through the Educational Portal of the Americas Virtual Classroom and requires a weekly dedication of 10 hours as well as basic computer skills. (To learn about the Rules of Procedure of the Portal Virtual Classroom please click here)

Start and End Dates: March 21st to May 23rd, 2011

Registration Deadline: February 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 PM (Washington D.C.) Closed Announcement!

Course Duration: Nine (9) weeks.

Language: English

Objectives: The objective of this course is to expose voter registration policy-makers and practitioners with frameworks, approaches and planning tools for the development of voter registration systems with integrity and in compliance with international standards.

Target Group:

  • Staff members of national Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) / electoral authorities of the OAS Member States, with experience in electoral administration.
  • Political party representatives. 
  • Academics and other persons interested in the subject matter.

The Course Program: This introductory course arranges the subject matter into eight modules beginning with a discussion of three voter registration frameworks – conceptual, legal and administrative. The conceptual framework examines the fundamental features of a registration system, that is, whether it is periodic, continuous or derived from a civil registry; or whether registration is automatic or self-initiated. The legal framework explores the constitutional, legislative, and regulatory provisions that must be in place to form a legal basis for voter eligibility with its rights and responsibilities. Finally, the administrative framework describes the planning, budgeting, organizational structures and staffing required to conduct and maintain a voter registration system.

The course continues with three modules that examine the registration of marginalized electorates, voter registration technologies, and monitoring and observation of voter registration. At the end of each module is a set of review questions for the participant to test his or her understanding of the topic.

The course concludes with the participant drafting a strategic and operational plan for the conduct of a voter registration process. The terms of reference for the scenario are described in the module narrative. The purpose of this exercise is for the participant to be able to assemble the elements discussed in the modules into a manageable, transparent, and standards-based voter registration system.

Case studies are included with each module which are reflective of the topic in focus for that module.

Module I:
Conceptual Frameworks for Voter Registration

  • Categories of Population Registries
  • Purposes of voter registration
  • Guiding principles for conducting voter registration
  • Classifications of voter registration systems
  • Voter eligibility
  • Voter identification

Module II:
Legal Frameworks for Voter Registration

  • Elements of a registration legal framework
  • Constitutions and voter registration
  • Voter registration legislation
  • Voter registration regulations and administrative procedures
  • Human rights covenants and principles for enfranchisement
  • Enforcement of the legal framework
  • Registration legal framework and disenfranchisement
  • Electoral systems and voter registration
  • Political party systems and voter registration

Module III:
Administrative Frameworks for Voter Registration – Planning and Budgeting

  • Elements of an administrative framework for voter registration
  • Approaches to planning for voter registration
  • Voter registration and the election cycle
  • Costs of voter registration

Module IV:
Administrative Frameworks for Voter Registration – Organization and Staffing

  • Organizational structures for voter registration
  • Sub-national agencies and voter registration
  • Staffing requirements for a voter registration program
  • Voter education program management
  • Voter registrar and enumerator training programs
  • Outsourcing voter registration activities

Module V:
Voter Registration of Marginalized Electorates

  • Module learning objective
  • Objectives for enfranchisement of marginalized electorates
  • Residency requirements and electoral marginalization
  • Post-conflict absentee registration and voting
  • Issues and responses in the enfranchisement of marginalized electorates
  • Confidential voter registration

Module VI:
Voter Registration Technologies and Data Management

  • Voter registration technologies
  • Input technologies for the voter registration database
  • Source data collection practices
  • Options for data storage
  • Preliminary Voters List (PVL)
  • Final Voters List (FVL)
  • Disadvantages of registration technology
  • International community assistance with voter registration technologies
  • FVL and political parties

Module VII:
Voter Registration Observation and Evaluation

  • Standards for evaluation of a voter registration program
  • Technical measurements for voter registration evaluation
  • Technical measurements of voter participation
  • International monitoring of voter registration programs

Module VIII:
Planning a Voter Registration Program – Scenario Exercise


Methodology: The course includes seven thematic modules, as well as one to get acquainted with the virtual classroom at the beginning and an evaluation module (scenario exercise) at the end.

Given that the course is offered via the e-learning format, the program contents will be developed through a didactic multimedia platform, which will be accessed through the Educational Portal of the Americas, as well as a printer-friendly PDF version that participants may save to consult offline.

Additionally, participants must access the virtual classroom to communicate and interact with the course tutor as well as with the rest of the course participants, in diverse online forums that will be created to discuss the course subject matter.

In each of the seven thematic modules, the participant will encounter the following:

  • Developed content pertaining to voter registration issues.
  • Related reading materials, including case studies (some required readings and some suggested readings).
  • Questions to be discussed in the online forums.

This online course is delivered under the academic and technical supervision of tutors. The tutors guide participants throughout the duration of course by:

  • Helping them to access course content;
  • Suggesting reading and reference materials;
  • Analyzing and evaluating assigned activities; and
  • Resolving technical problems and answering questions.

In addition, the tutors provide students with a weekly analysis of participant responses and make individual interventions when necessary.

Finally, participants must complete a final project, which for this course will be drafting a strategic and operational plan for the conduct of a voter registration process (based on a hypothetical scenario that will be provided to the students).

Evaluation and Certification: Participants who successfully complete the diverse course requirements, including the final project, will receive a digital and electronic Certificate from the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS) for the successful completion of the course.

Cost: Total tuition cost for the course is USD400 (four hundred dollars).

Financial Aid Option: The GS/OAS will provide financial aid of USD 200 (two hundred dollars) to participants who fulfill all the posted requirements. The final tuition cost for participants who receive financial aid will be USD 200 (two hundred dollars).

Requirements to Apply for Financial Aid: Participants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be citizens or permanent residents of any OAS member country.
  2. Professional and/or academic profile :
    • Possess university education, as well as professional experience in the thematic subject of the course.
  3. Possess basic computer skills (use of email, Word documents, etc.)
  4. Be fluent in English
  5. Be able to dedicate approximately 10 hours per week for course activities.
  6. Have a functional personal e-mail account (e-mail accounts cannot be shared)
  7. Be a registered user in the Educational Portal of the Americas (www.educoas.org)
  8. Have unrestricted access to a computer with Internet with following minimum technical specifications:
  • Proccesor: 500 MHz Intel, Pentium II o superior
  • Operative System: Windows 98, NT, 2000,  XP, o Vista
  • 64Mb or better
  • Minimum resolution 1024x768
Internet Access
  • 56K modem or faster
  • JavaScript active, Cookies active
  • Internet Explorer 6 or newer
  • Adobe Reader 8 or superior
  • Flash 7.0 or superior
  • Multimedia (optional)
  • Antivirus

NOTE: Access to technological hardware and connectivity (internet and email) costs are the responsibility of the participant.

Method of Payment: For this course, the only method of payment is with an international credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) and using an Internet secure page*

For optimal registration we recommend that you print the following instructions

1. Register as a user on the Educational Portal of the Americas:

2. Complete the application form before February 23rd, 2011.  Participants will automatically receive an e-mail confirmation once their registration form has been received (see example). This notification means that your application has been successful, it doesn’t mean you have been selected to participate in the course. Selected participants will receive a communication beginning February 25th, 2011. In addition, the complete list of selected participants and enrollment/payment instructions will be published on the Educational Portal of the Americas Webpage on the same date.

Closed Announcement!

3. Once the enrollment/payment period has been closed, instructions on how to access the course will be sent to participants by e-mail on March 21st, 2011, first day of course **

This notification means that your application has been successful, it doesn’t mean you have been selected to participate in the course.

** Make sure you add the following e-mail address to your address book in order that communications sent from the Educational Portal of the Americas account  will not be blocked as  "spam": [email protected]

Any questions regarding this announcement should be sent to [email protected], and must include in the subject line:
“Developing Strategies to Improve Voter Registries in the Americas - 1st edition - Ref: VOTREG-E101.10”.

If you need more information about this course or if you are interested in requesting a closed edition for your institution, please emails us at: [email protected]

¹ With the financial support from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID)