Election Observers

Nonpartisan citizen election monitors play a critical role in validating political processes with data, but today, they must navigate an increasingly complex information environment. Election observers do more than just provide an independent check on the vote count; they also monitor the election process to ensure equal and full participation in elections by both citizens and candidates. Election observers play a key role in ensuring the enfranchisement of marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities, gender and sexual minorities, and women. NDI’s approach to election-related programming seeks to maximize the opportunities presented by elections to help advance democratic progress. ​Read More on NDI.org

Defending Against Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks against election observation organizations can have significant consequences. Such attacks can undermine credibility and impact. NDI works with election observer organizations to navigate and mitigate cybersecurity challenges through customized consultation and the following resources.

Preserving the Open and Accessible Internet

The internet is an increasingly important space for political participation so internet blackouts and other forms of manipulation or censorship impact election outcomes and the legitimacy of electoral processes. NDI works with election observation organizations to monitor for these attempts to undermine the electoral process.

Protecting the Truth Online

Traditional electoral safeguards, particularly election observers, are expanding their capacities, activities, relationships, and advocacy efforts to confront disinformation threats to electoral integrity. Approaches to countering disinformation in elections encompass a variety of program types, including fact-checking, advocacy to governments and platforms, digital and media literacy, networking and coalition building, and international cooperation. NDI works with partners and in coalition to support these activities. NDI also works with election observers to identify disinformation campaigns, including those that target marginalized groups or that exploit existing gender norms or social divisions, and to mobilize broad opposition and responses to these campaigns.

Taking Advantage Civic Technologies and Involving the Tech Community

Technology tools are enabling new ways for election observers to be more effective, both from an operational perspective – enabling real-time observation reporting – and by expanding the scope of observations – allowing monitoring of the social media environment. By working together, the civic technology and election observation communities can scale the impact of their individual efforts. NDI works to reinforce these networks and tools that enhance observation efforts. NDI helped to design an open-source tool called Apollo that is specifically built to make it as simple as possible to run the large scale data collection efforts required in election observation.

Adapting to Emerging Technologies

NDI's work on emerging tech focuses on large changes in the digital ecosystem, including hardware, software, and prevailing norms, that may impact electoral processes. NDI’s resources provide overviews of the opportunities and risks to election observers that result from technologies like digital identity, blockchain, and 5G infrastructure.

Designing Better Communication Strategies

Accessible, intuitive, and easy to use technology products and services are an increasingly important way to communicate. NDI works with election observers to help them leverage human centered design to create communications strategies that are more effective in reaching their intended goals.