U.S. Elections Process

Twelve governing officials from Burma received an introduction to the process of elections in the United States. The three-week program focused on introducing the visitors to the federal system of government, the importance of elections in the U.S., and the laws which support the electoral process. The project highlighted the role of NGOs and privately funded organizations in facilitating the engagement of the public in the election process, while providing further insight into the roles of media, think tanks, academic institutions, public opinion, and relationships between candidates and their constituencies. The program also emphasized the importance of an orderly transition to a new administration and adapting to new domestic and international policy implications, which was especially appropriate to those Burmese visitors who may be facing reelection or a new ruling party. After opening the project in Washington, the group traveled to Indianapolis to meet with local and State officials at the Marion County Clerk’s Office and the Indiana Secretary of State Elections Division. Discussions were facilitated to cover voter eligibility and the state’s elections commission. After a home hospitality stay within a Burmese American community, the group traveled to Dallas to speak with activists, campaign consultant services, and representatives of the local chapter of the Republican Party. Their final stop was Los Angeles, where the group was able to engage with grassroots political institutions and media organizations, including the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles League of Women Voters, and the Pasadena Star News. Each meeting provided further insight into the structure of grassroots movements, coverage of elections at the local level, and public opinion.

Sponsor

International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State

Project summary

U.S. Elections Process
Number of Visitors: 12
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: Myanmar [Burma]
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement
Program Areas: Exchanges
Partners: NGOs