From: Young Professionals Network
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Election Process in Albania: A Youth Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has already transformed many aspects of our lives and many other processes whether economic, political, or social. Coronavirus also transforms other pillars of democratic governance such as electoral processes.

This study will be primarily focused on the impact of Covid-19 in Albania, with regard to the development of 2021 parliamentary elections. This research includes quantitative and qualitative methods by developing questionnaires and literature reviews. By using a literature review we focus on how the COVID-19 has influenced the electoral process.

From the information obtained on the official website of the Central Election Commission, it can be learned that persons infected with COVID-19 cannot vote and participate in the parliamentary elections in Albania as health is seen as more important than anything else.

On Election Day outside each polling station will be posted the rules that must be followed to avoid the spread of the virus COVID-19. This situation highlights shortcomings in the Albanian legislation, as well as in other countries, to provide for the use of alternative voting methods in order to facilitate the democratic participation of persons who cannot come to the polling station for health reasons. 

We also used questionnaires to understand the attitude of young people regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the electoral process.

Referring to some of the findings of the study conducted with young people from 12 regions of Albania, it results that out of all participants in the study, 51% of them have never voted, 36% of young people included in the survey have low trust in the administration.

In terms of impartiality, 79% of them would not vote if they were infected with COVID-19 and 53% of young people surveyed would not vote if a member of their family tested positive.

50% of young people surveyed have no information on whether or not people infected with COVID-19 will vote in the 2021 election compared to 28% who have heard something but do not have much information.

The study participants also answered other questions which will be part of the full study to create a greater understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on the attitude of young people towards the elections and the information they have in relation to the current situation. The study concludes with recommendations for electoral stakeholders to enhance youth participation in the electoral process. 

This summary was provided by:  Bela Gega,  Altin Guberi, Albert Pezaku

Three participants in the workshop “Active Youth in the Electoral Process”, which was organized by and Young Professional Network Albania with support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, have conducted a study on the impact of Covid-19 on the 2021 electoral process in Albania from a youth perspective. The study will be made available after the elections and will provide recommendations for electoral stakeholders with the goal to enhance youth participation in the electoral process in the future.