There are two types of election observers: long term and short term observers. Short Term Observers (STOs)
are responsible for observing the close of the election campaign, the voting process, and the counting and tabulation of results in their area of responsibility. STOs are deployed throughout a country in multinational two-person teams. Their observations are used by the mission’s Core Team to gain an overall assessment of the polling day procedures. Upon their return to the UK, all STOs complete a post-mission report for ERIS describing their observations during the mission. Based on these reports, ERIS will provide a final report to the FCO. STOs are under contract with ERIS and are required to comply with instructions and arrangements made by the Mission Core Team.
Long Term Observers (LTOs)
monitor preparations for the election at a regional level. They are deployed well in advance of the polling date for a period of 8 to 10 weeks and report to Country Headquarters regularly.
They can also be responsible for STOs deploying to their region, which can include logistical and administrative responsibility. LTOs are drawn from observers with prior mission experience as the requirements and demands are far greater than those made of STOs.
For details of the application process visit How to Apply
ERIS is looking for people who have past experience in election observation missions, experience of election administration or relevant academic and/or professional backgrounds. In addition, we require that election observers be in excellent health, are willing to work long hours in difficult conditions, and have the ability to work well as part of a team.
All candidates for participation in election observation missions should fulfil the following requirements:
- Previous knowledge (national and/or international) of election monitoring and/or other relevant experience and/or training
- Good knowledge of the mission’s working languages
- Strong interpersonal skills including balanced judgement, ability to work in teams and to cope with difficult situations, respect for local attitudes, good communication, and readiness to work in a multi-cultural environment
- Ability to maintain commitment to democracy and human rights
- Academic or professional background in democracy and human rights, international work or military background
Our selection procedure reflects these criteria plus any specific additional criteria provided by the EU or OSCE/ODIHR for the mission. We allocate a weighting for each criterion, use a panel to review each application and then use the combined total scores to establish a shortlist.
Some criteria, such as the mission working language or at least one STO mission for LTO candidates, will be a minimum requirement without which an application will not be considered. We also place particularly strong emphasis on election observation experience and country-specific experience. Once we have a shortlist we then try to ensure that the candidates we put forward reflect a good gender balance and diversity in terms of age, background and, where possible, ethnicity. We also do our best to enable as many candidates as possible to participate in missions over the course of the year.
Please note that for election observer missions ERIS only recruits UK citizens. Non-UK citizens are advised to contact their respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can find further details of your Focal Point on the EuropeAid website.
We regularly receive a high volume of applications to take part in election observation missions.
Here we provide some suggestions to improve your chances of selection for a mission.
- Gain experience observing elections in your home country
- Consider taking a relevant training course
- Maintain an awareness of the electoral calendar [see resources]
- Develop or improve your language skills relevant to the country in which the election will take place
- Consider volunteering for other organisations working in this area such as the Carter Center UK and UNV