International election monitoring has become a prominent tool for promoting election integrity and democracy, but several factors raise questions about the validity and effectiveness of international election monitoring.

When organizations have to return to the same countries election after election, what are they accomplishing? When politicians continue to cheat in the presence of monitors, is the mission worthwhile? When more and more organizations join the practice without any uniform standards for assessing an election, and when different organizations sometimes disagree, how can outsiders know which organizations are reliable?

This discussion paper suggests some steps that regional organizations can take to streamline election monitoring and focus their efforts more effectively. Although it suggests some ideas for reforms, the goal is not necessarily for organization to adopt these particular suggestions, but for them to face the questions and discuss a variety of possible reforms.


Publication date
01 December 2012
Judith Kelley
Number of pages


A Few Facts About the Growth and Activities of Election Monitoring

Central Dilemmas and Questions

The Attention Dilemma


Closing Thoughts


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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Rethinking Election Monitoring

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