June 15

Therese Pearce Laanela

Pandemic Polls: The Challenges to Elections Under COVID-19

Zoom Webinar

June 15, 2020 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

Citizens around the world have fought long and hard for the right to choose their own leaders, however the COVID-19 pandemic is now threatening this democratic freedom by disrupting elections. Because gathering at polling sites poses great health concerns, governments must now risk the trust of their constituents by choosing to either hold an election during a pandemic or postpone an election to a later date. Join us on Monday, June 15th from 11 AM to 12 PM EST when we discuss the challenges COVID-19 poses for elections with Therese Pearce Laanela, the Head of Electoral Processes at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

How can a country postpone an election without losing the trust of its citizens? Listen to Therese Pearce Laanela

Therese Pearce Laanela has a background working with elections on the field, headquarters and policy levels. She served as a founding staff member at International IDEA and as Assistant Director for the Democracy Program at The Carter Center. Through work with IFES, UNDP and IDEA, Pearce Laanela has been deeply involved in the development of a variety of seminal publications, networks, databases and training curriculum on electoral administration, including the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network and the BRIDGE course package.

Prior to working at IDEA she served in 1994 through UNDP, for the National Electoral Commission in Mozambique organising the first post-war elections, and in Cambodia in 1992-93 as a District Electoral Supervisor for the UN sponsored first multi-party election. Pearce Laanela has consistently served as a presiding officer in Swedish elections and has done numerous international election observer and electoral assistance missions in Africa, Europe, and Asia for organisations such as the OSCE, the European Union, and the Carter Center.

Her doctoral studies at the Australian National University examine issues relating to trust in electoral institutions, while her masters degree focused on political financing and electoral system.

Freelance assignments include an evaluation of 20 years of UNDP electoral assistance, and an evaluation of 10 years of Australian Electoral Assistance.



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