Election monitoring and observation

CECOE is the first CSO to be invited by the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to observer the Sidama referendum. Equally, it is also the first organization to observe referendum in Ethiopia. CECOE recruited, trained and deployed on November 20,2019 a total of 147 short term observers (STOs) who were drawn from the 9 regions and the two city administrations, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa on voting day to observe the Sidama referendum. Out of 147 (STOs) 38 were female while 5 of them were persons with disabilities. CECOE also recruited, trained and deployed 6 pre-referendum Long Term Observer (LTOs) teams consisting of 16 members beginning November 15 -19, 2019, in selected 6 woredas of the Sidama Zone (Wondo- genete, Shbedino, Hawasa, Dale [Yirgalem], In the same vein, the Coalition also deployed observers to monitor the post referendum environment in Hawasa City and its surroundings. Prior to deploying observers CECOE conducted training to both LTOs and STOs so as to familiarize themselves with referendum day checklist and critical incident forms to be used during the pre-referendum period, referendum day and post referendum period.

In the 2021 General Elections CECOE observed the pre-election, polling day and post elections in two rounds, in June and September 2021. During the pre-election period, CECOE recruited, trained and deployed 117 observers who observed the voter registration process that the NEBE carried out between March and May 2021. Over the course of this period, CECOE deployed 117 observers who monitored the registration process at each assigned location for a full day, from opening to closing. In total, CECOE received observation reports from 1,190 different voter registration locations. Likewise, at the beginning of August 2021, CECOE also deployed 51 Long-Term Observers (LTO’s) to the Harari, Somali, and SNNP regional states where elections were postponed in June owing to procedural irregularities in the Voter registration process, logistical and/or security challenges. In the September elections CECOE was able to collect a total of 283 reports from the 51 Long-Term Observers (LTO’s). CECO’s observers collected information related to the campaigning process, preparatory actions by the NEBE, voter education, the security environment, and civic space in the period leading up to the 30, September 2021 elections. Similarly, CECOE deployed 1,949 observers on June 21 and 919 on September 30 elections to monitor the election day processes. Observers covered all cities and regions where elections for Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and regional councils took place, as well as communities in the SNNP Region participating in the South West People referendum, polling stations in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa conducting elections for the Harari National Assembly, and the Qoloji IDP Settlement Camp in Somali region. CECOE also observed the post-election environments following both the June and September election, CECOE deployed 97 and 49 observers from which CECOE collected 568 and 282 reports respectively to monitor the political environment, including responses to announced results , limitations or restrictions placed on civic space and the process of managing electoral disputes. In general, observers reported that the post-election environment in the communities where they observed did not have occurrences related to violence, riots, demonstration, or restrictions on the freedom of movement.

CECOE trained and deployed LTOs who observed voter registration in the South referendum in six zones (Konso, South Omo, Wolaita, Gamo, Gedeo, Gofa) and five special districts (Burji, Basketo, Ale, Amaro, Dirashe. Moreover, CECOE trained and deployed a total of 510 observers, 434 STOs and 76 mobile observers, on February 6, 2023, in the named zones and special woredas deployed Special Woredas to observe the South referendum where the referendum took place.

CECOE established Election/referendum Situation Room in the June 21 and September 30 General Elections as well as South referendum which took place on February 6,2023 using the Apollo platform and SMS technology to collect observation data from STOs in real time. Moreover, in all the abovementioned elections and referendum, CECOE recruited, trained and assigned Desk Clerks who collected observation data five times (Arrival, Opening, Voting, Closing, and Counting) on voting day. Apart from conducting training to observers on concepts such as election and Election observation, electoral cycle, election Observation methods, communication and reporting as well as and contents of checklist and critical incident forms used on polling and referendum days, CECOE also organized simulation exercise for STOs on how to report observation findings through SMS text message and the apollo platform to give them hands-on experience. In addition, CECOE, in all elections and referendum observations it conducted, issued press statements, situational reports and final comprehensive election and observation reports.