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An election commission is a body charged with overseeing the implementation of election procedures. The exact name used varies from country to country, including such terms as "electoral commission", "central election commission", "electoral branch" or "electoral court". Election commissions can be independent, mixed, judicial or governmental. They may also be responsible for electoral boundary delimitation. In federations there may be a separate body for each subnational government.
In the independent model the election commission is independent of the executive and manages its own budget. Countries with an independent election commission include Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, South Africa and Thailand. In some of these countries the independence of the election commission is constitutionally guaranteed e.g. section 190 of the Constitution of South Africa.
In the branch model the election commission is often called an electoral branch, and is usually a constitutionally-recognized separate branch of government, with its members appointed by either the executive or the legislative branch. Countries with an electoral branch include Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
In the mixed-model there is an independent board to determine policy, but implementation is usually a matter for an executive department with varying degrees of supervision by the independent board. Countries with such a model include Cameroon, France, Germany, Japan, Senegal and Spain.
In the executive model the election commission is directed by a cabinet minister as part of the executive branch of government, and may include local government authorities acting as agents of the central body. Countries with this model include Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United States.
In the judicial model the election commission is closely supervised by and ultimately responsible to a special "electoral court". Countries with such a model include Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
A board of elections is a body of officials designated to administer elections in some U.S. states and municipalities, such as New York City. The board is typically not under the direct control of the executive branch and therefore is buffered somewhat from political pressure.
An example of a board of elections in the process of selecting election commissioners appears in the image to the right—the Tangipahoa Parish Board of Election Supervisors. Such a board is established by the Louisiana Revised Statutes § 18:484. The statute specifies that such a board in every one of Louisiana's 64 parishes (counties) shall be constituted of a representative of each recognized political party plus the Registrar of Voters, the Governor's appointee, and the clerk of court. The statute articulates explicit charges to the board, including stipulating the manner of selecting the commissioners:
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