Campaign-related monitoring uses elections as an opportunity for civil society to encourage political parties and electoral candidates to take explicit positions on issues and make commitments about the work they will undertake if elected. This information is then used by civic groups to monitor the performance of elected officials during their term of office.
Campaign-related monitoring can be used by watchdog organizations to record and publicize the different positions and commitments made by parties and candidates, and then monitor and report on their record while in office. The information produced by these efforts can help increase public scrutiny of politicians. At the same time, this type of monitoring can be used by issue-based organizations to gain a specific campaign promise that then becomes the target of post-election monitoring with the purpose of applying pressure to ensure the promise is kept.
Campaign-related monitoring initiatives commonly aim to achieve the following outcomes:
- The electorate is more informed on a candidate’s background, campaign platform and voting record.
- Citizen priorities are taken into account throughout the campaign period.
- A public record is kept of campaign promises.
- Elected officials are held accountable for their campaign promises post-election.
- Citizens and elected officials develop constructive relationships.
- The policy priorities more accurately represent citizen interests.
Select Monitoring Tools
To help undertake campaign-related monitoring, there are a few methods for obtaining and communicating the positions and commitments of political parties and candidates. These include:
- Voter guides
- Community manifestos
- Pledge drives
All three of these tools help shape what citizens should expect from candidates and political parties and create metrics that can be used to gauge the performance of elected officials. A monitoring initiative can involve one or more of these methods.