Long Term Observation: the experience

February 2008

Timothy Parrit attended the ERIS LTO Training Course in February earlier this year.

He took part in the USA Election Observation Mission with the OSCE and has just deployed to Bangladesh with the European Union as an LTO.

Tim writes:

"After attending the LTO training in February 2008, I signed up for ERIS's e-alerts for upcoming missions. Wanting to build practical experience and aim for LTO positions in the longer term, I was pleased to participate as a STO for the Georgia Parliamentary elections in May. I spent election night at a district tabulation centre in an old Soviet-era mining town - long hours of quiet replaced by increasing frenzy as ballot boxes from outlying polling stations flooded in.

All a sharp contrast to my next assignment as an LTO covering the November US elections, based in the Carolinas. The heated culmination of a two-year campaign included sophisticated voter registration drives, "robo call" negative campaign telephone messages, and unprecedented voter turnout. In the swing state of North Carolina the presidential race proved extremely close, with a margin of some 12,000 votes counted on E-Night. Florida-style visions of challenges and prolonged disputes fortunately dissipated as clear national results came speedily in. 

My next assignment, as an LTO covering the December Bangladesh elections, will be a further contrast. Suspended in early 2007 after political tensions and violence, expectations for these resumed elections are high."