Who’s There? Election Observer Identity and the Local Credibility of Elections

On Wednesday, April 11, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association welcomed Professor Sarah Bush (Political Science, Temple University) to speak on the role of international election observers in transatlantic democracy promotion efforts. Focusing in recent survey research in Tunisia, Professor Bush found that Arab League election monitors were more highly trusted by Tunisian voters despite the Arab Leagues lack of capacity and experience in emerging democracies. In contrast, US and EU monitoring teams provided higher capacity and effectiveness, but were less trusted by the averaged survey voter. Professor Bush concluded her lecture by addressing the policy implications of her research, including suggestions on how US and EU election monitoring teams can partner with local institutions in North Africa to build monitoring capacity as well as public legitimacy in the eyes of the voting public. She also briefly addressed the role of election monitoring in illiberal democracies, such as Hungary and Poland. International monitoring teams may be particularly effective in illiberal democracies, where they can play an advocacy role for local institutions that may lack influence within the state.

Here is also the link to the video recording of the lecture: http://streaming.osu.edu/player/knowledgebank/?f=Mershon18/SarahBush_2.mp4


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