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Elections, Digital technologies, Human rights: the standards to be met

COVID-19 outbreak affected mostly all areas of public and private life all over the world. Elections are not an exception.  State authorities either delay and re-schedule the initially planned elections or consider alternative voting processes and procedures to protect voters and election commissioners from spreading the virus at the polling stations (postal voting, remote voting etc.).

Just in a few weeks, COVID-19 taught us how to live and work online. But what about voting? Paper ballots have always been the most trustworthy voting technology. However, different digital solutions may become very attractive in the given circumstances today. Whenever introduction of digital technologies into electoral process is discussed and pursued, respective legal and practical considerations should be carefully weighed up.

To this end, the Council of Europe collected its respective standards, recommendations and guidelines how to ensure right to free elections, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, in the era of digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The compendium will be updated on a regular basis with relevant Council of Europe documents and instruments, once they are developed and adopted.

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