Observers can use the app to access realtime snapshots of what is going on at polling stations and to report on any noticeable irregularities.
Code for Romania is a movement of young professionals using their skills to build civic apps to help make Romania a better place. Hundreds of volunteers across the country and abroad have been working together over the last two years, putting in almost 40,000 working hours with the hope of transforming Romania into a country its citizens want to live in, one app at a time.
Election monitoring in Romania has traditionally been a pen-on-paper process. There were no video, photo or audio recordings that could be shared in real time, and handwritten reports were centralised long after elections, limiting the impact of their findings.
Monitorizare Vot is an election monitoring service designed for both polling staff and regular citizens.
It has three key components:
- A national mobile app (iOS and Android) through which commissioned observers can easily report back throughout the election day;
- A platform for NGOs that centralises the reported information in real time;
- An online platform that allows voters to report voting irregularities.
If photo and video evidence exists, Monitorizare Vot allows observers to attach supporting files on the system, which further aids the documentation process and can be forwarded to the relevant public authorities.
During the the last Romanian elections, the app’s was used widely::
- 562 commissioned observers used the app on election day, out of a total of 1100 observers;
- 1,346 voting stations observed;
- 37 counties and the diaspora;
- 5,1250 messages were sent, out of which
- 1322 messages signaled irregularities.
The greatest technical challenge they faced was making sure the app uses as little battery as possible and that people could use it offline. Therefore, graphics were reduced to a minimum without impeding on usability, and the app allowed for updates to be saved offline, and uploaded them once the device was online.
Creators of the service are currently working on adding several new features and real time reporting tools. Moreover, they are currently talking to organisations in Ukraine, Croatia, Poland, Mexico and Moldova who are looking to replicate their model. From the beginning, the tool was programmed to be easy to replicate by anyone. Any organisation wanting to use it simply has to upload their own observation form and the service is ready to use.
Monitorizare Vot is the first app of its kind to be developed and used in Romania and one of the few used in Europe and worldwide. The app won the award for Civic Behavior and Public Participation at the Romanian Civil Society Gala in June 2017.
Case study date: June 2018.