For many weeks now (February 2023), the CEC official website lost touch with its database before 2020. This database contains Documents, Acts, Reports, Minutes and Decisions that represent the backbone of CEC activity and electoral campaigns developments. Similarly, while Albania gears up for the local elections, the previous 2019 campaign is darkened by a total lack of acts and information on the CEC website.
Although public access to these documents is a legal obligation, those are no longer accessible online for use by interested stakeholders. Specifically, missing from the pre-2020 campaigns are all:
- Audit Reports and Financial Reports of electoral subjects and political parties;
- Voter Turnover in each electoral zone;
- De-criminalization Forms filled out by individuals running in the 2019 campaign;
- Decisions of the Central Election Commission;
- Complaints/Appeals and Minutes of institutional sessions;
- Acts and Documents.
While CEC proclaimed initiatives to apply information technology, digitalization, and online reporting during 2023, it seems that website hosting and interoperability with the earlier database is a challenge that puts a big question mark on CEC’s capacities and will.
AIS is an organization that promotes access, transparency, and information. AIS holds that Data is Power and data must be made available to all stakeholders.
AIS filed a complaint on this denied access in the section Report of CEC website, and finds really concerning this shrank access to information on previous electoral campaigns and developments.
Truncated access, missing transparency, and irresponsibility in managing official documents represent a very risky aspect of how access to information may be used unilaterally.