WASHINGTON-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justice Dr. Jane Ansah and commissioners, are in the US at the start of a five-day specialized course on data analysis and management in election administration.

During the course, the election officials, led by Ansah will also monitor the US Midterm elections that take place Tuesday November 6, 2018.

The course is hosted by the United States International Center for Electoral Support, in partnership with the US Election Assistance Commission and the Center for Technology and Civic Life and is being held in Maryland, one of the states surrounding the country’s capital, Washington DC.

Justice Ansah told the Maravi Post that the14-module course will better prepare the management of Malawi’s Tri-partite elections that are scheduled for June 2019.

“The course has come at a good time for our own election management as we face the polls in 2019,” MEC Chair said.

She pointed out that was looking forward to watching other election managers, however data analysis was important for managing the Malawi elections.

The courses MEC Chair and her team will undertake include the following:

Introducing Data Concept in Election Administration during which participants will be introduce to data concept and “how data has shaped election administration.”

In Election Data Collection Techniques, Audience, and Consumption, participants will explore data collection and how an election progresses through a full elections cycle.

This will include pre-election, election day, and post-election.

The module will of course touch on other players in data collection, processing and reporting.

They will also explore the multitude of audiences for election administration data.

In the module entitled Pre-Election period: System data assets, tools for resources management, participants will review the importance of reviewing what data exists in the election office that will inform resources allocation and management of staff and equipment, what tools are available that would assist logistics, election day polling location preparations, and modernizing voter registration systems and processes.

The course organizers will discuss the best ways to analyze and present information.

In a session entitled Election data analysis and presentation, data gaps, and redistricting. In this module the election officials will also consider how to identify gaps in election administration data and how to effectively gather information.

The highlight of the 5-day course, is the module on Observing opening and set up of polling stations and Observing voting process on Tuesday November 6, 2018.

These polling stations will be in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.

Justice Ansah said, it is expected that while monitoring the polling process, the participants are scheduled to hold meetings with the Governor of Virginia, Washington DC Mayor, Director of Administration of Maryland, and Director of Elections of DC and of Virginia.

“Because we live in times where social media is prevalent, and it is the form that our young voters use and are familiar with, we will also consider Social Media. Communication and Data Visualization,” MEC Chair, Ansah said.

She said in this module, participants will be shown how social media platforms has meant the facilitation of rapid dissemination of voter information.

During the module, participants will among others review the key to success with using social media, harnessing the hard-to-reach youth to participate in the polls, and creating engaging content for the website.

At the end of the course, the MEC Chair and her team will tour the White House, the Black Museum, and Capitol Hill.

She said they expect to return to Malawi on Sunday.  

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