The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), known for its role as a leader in election observation, conducted their annual gathering at OSCE PA’s headquarters in Vienna on July 5th and 6th 2021, as a hybrid meeting.
The 298 delegates from 56 countries had access to voting online during the congress. Delegates who were not able to attend the physical meeting in Vienna were able to vote, on equal terms, as the physical present participants. During the session Assembly Voting X and Assembly Conference Voting were used to conduct the elections of Assembly and General Committee Officers and resolutions.
The delegates and the election auditors expressed satisfaction with the voting process as well as with the record high turnout of 86% at the election of Assembly and General Committee Officers.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly brings together 323 parliamentarians from across the 57-nation OSCE region, including Europe, Asia and North America. The OSCE PA provides a forum for parliamentary dialogue, leads election observation missions, and strengthens international co-operation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.
Representing their national parliaments, members of the Parliamentary Assembly meet several times a year to debate a wide range of issues relevant to the ultimate goal of all OSCE efforts: human security for all in the OSCE region. The parliamentarians debate, vote and pass declarations and resolutions addressing issues concerning the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, economic and environmental co-operation and political- military policies.
Due to the global pandemic, it became evident that PA would not be able to conduct its congress in person, with many parliamentarians being unable to travel to the congress location in Vienna. The agenda was due to include voting on a number of resolutions as well as conducting elections on key Assembly positions for President, Vice-Presidents and Committees Officers.
In spring 2021 OSCE PA started to look at solutions that would support the conduct of their election, allowing participants to connect and vote remotely and securely using audited online voting technology.
After careful review Assembly Voting X and Assembly Voting Conference were selected as the best fit for their needs being secure, auditable and proven.
Assembly Voting setup a project team to work closely with OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Secretariat to define the ballots requirements for the session. There were particularly challenges to meet with participants spread over more than 56 countries. Many participants were in transit or undertaken work in countries, other than their own. Security requirements meant that each participant would require multiple authentication factors to ensure only those eligible to vote were able to do so. Multiple authentication proved to be challenging, as with voters spread throughout the 56 countries, both the email and sms authentication had to be thoughtfully checked and alternate solutions found in case of delivery issues.
The congress meeting took place over two days on the 5th and 6th July 2021. Those parliamentarian members who were able to travel, met at the headquarters in Vienna whilst over 70% joined the meeting and voting sessions remotely.
“The combination of system security, the user-friendly interfaces and the operational service from Assembly Voting made us feel confident and safe throughout the process. We are very pleased with the solutions and cooperation with the Assembly Voting team” stated Gustavo Pallares, Deputy Secretary General at OSCEPA
”OSCEPA is highly dedicated to ensuring integrity in national democratic elections around the world. We share this agenda completely in our daily work at Assembly Voting and we are proud and honored that OSCEPA has chosen our election solution and services for their Parliamentary Assembly.”, says Jacob Gyldenkærne, CEO & Founder of Assembly Voting
Work has commenced on the planning to support OSCE PA Autumn Meeting due to be held in October.
Facts and Figures
- 298 parliamentarians
- 56 countries remotely accessing the meeting voting system
- 5 remote ballots
- 6 live in-meeting ballots
- 5 average seconds to produce results
- 8 third party auditors/tellers/observers of the system during live operation