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Considering Security During Elections


All over the world elections can be a flashpoint for civil unrest, demonstrations and violence. In 2018, over 50 different countries will be holding elections and these are just the ones planned in advance. There can be snap elections, or by-elections, at any time in many places. How then can individuals and organisations prepare to be safe during election periods?

Read up on the political situation.

Are elections likely to be contentious and why? Leo Tolstoy’s first line of Anna Karenina about families – “happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” - could equally be applied elections. Peaceful elections are all alike but contentious elections are all contentious in their own way. Also, don’t just focus on national elections as local elections can be just as controversial with as much likelihood of violence.

Let the past be a predictor of the future.

Knowing if elections have become contentious and/or violent in the past is a good guide to how they might play out in the coming months. What has happened in the past and where has violence occurred and when? Does it occur during campaigning? At the polls? After the outcome. Knowing this will help you better prepare for the potential period of instability which could occur.