NDI Publications on Election Monitoring

Promoting Legal Frameworks for Democratic Elections: An NDI Guide for Developing Election Laws and Law Commentaries, by Patrick Merloe (2008). This guide addresses the importance of developing legal frameworks that promote democratic elections. It explores why it is important for political parties, civic organizations and others to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of existing and proposed laws affecting election processes.  The guide also addresses the importance of developing an open and inclusive political process to address those laws. The guide presents the main issues to examine when evaluating the legal framework and over 200 questions to consider, as well as sources of international law on the subject and a list of NDI election law commentaries. 

Available in English, Arabic and French.


NDI Handbook on How Domestic Organizations Monitor Elections: An A to Z Guide (1995). This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of how to organize a nonpartisan domestic election monitoring effort. It covers:
  • Planning and organizational issues;
  • Recruiting, training and logistical issues in building a communications network for reporting;
  • Various subjects to monitor in the pre-election, election day and post-election periods;
  • Considerations for how the organization and skills developed through monitoring efforts can be applied to non-election activities.

The guide is designed for election monitoring by civic organizations but can be used by political parties in designing their efforts to ensure electoral integrity and protect their vote. 

Available in English, Arabic, French, Indonesian and Spanish.


Building Confidence in the Voter Registration Process: An NDI Monitoring Guide for Political Parties and Civic Organizations, by Richard L. Klein and Patrick Merloe (2001). This voter registration monitoring guide addresses:
  • The role of voter registration and the principal types of voter registration systems;
  • Why it is important for political parties and civic organizations to monitor these systems;
  • Specific techniques for monitoring processes for collecting names, creating a voter registry and polling station voter lists, correcting errors in the lists and use of the lists on election day. 

Available in English, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish.


Media Monitoring to Promote Democratic Elections: An NDI Handbook for Citizen Organizations, by Robert Norris and Patrick Merloe (2002) 

This handbook takes a step-by- step approach to media monitoring. It covers:

  • The importance of determining who controls the media and the difference between state- controlled versus private and broadcast versus print media;
  • Issues to address in deciding what media and what subjects to monitor;
  • Planning and organization of a media monitoring project;
  • Monitoring methodology, including specific instructions for monitoring different types of media;
  • Considerations for the presentation of findings and recommendations.

Available in English and Arabic.


The Quick Count and Election Observation: An NDI Handbook for Civic Organizations and Political Parties, by Melissa Estok, Neil Nevitte and Glenn Cowan (2002). This handbook to conducting a Quick Count (also known as Parallel Vote Tabulation, or PVT) addresses the importance of developing systematic observation of vital election day processes, including the quality of voting, ballot counting and tabulation of election results, as well as the projection of electoral results with extremely narrow margins of error and high degrees of statistical confidence. It covers:
  • Planning and organizational issues;
  • Recruiting and training;
  • communications systems;
  • Developing a random statistical sample of polling stations for rapid and exacting analysis;
  • Analytical techniques;
  • The considerations for the release of parallel vote tabulation findings;

The handbook is designed for civic organizations but can easily be used by political parties. It also is designed for use by civic organizations that decide not to undertake projection of electoral results. As an organizer's guide, it reviews many of the issues covered by NDI's 1995 "A to Z" handbook. 

Available in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.


Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers (2005). The Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers establish the basis for credible international election observation.

Available in Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri,  Bosnian-Cyrillic, Bosnian-Latin, Burmese, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, English, French, Hungarian, Kazakh, Latvian, Macedonian, Moldovan, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. 


Monitoring Electronic Technologies in Electoral Processes: An NDI Guide for Political Parties and Civic Organizations, by Vladimir Pran and Patrick Merloe (2008). This guide aims to increase the understanding of civic and political activists regarding:
  • What transparency measures to demand in establishing safeguards concerning electronic electoral technologies; and
  • What skills their organizations will need to develop to verify the integrity of electronic electoral technologies.

Specifically, it covers the types of technologies employed, the potential challenges for electoral integrity brought by such technologies, issues to consider in deciding whether to introduce electronic technologies and transparency that should be employed when electronic technologies are utilized. 

Available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.


Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors (2012)

Available in Arabic, Bangla, Burmese, English, French, Indonesian, Mongolian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.



Implementing and Overseeing Electronic Voting and Counting Technologies (2013)

This manual published jointly by NDI and IFES addresses the challenges, opportunities and risks to adopting and monitoring electronic voting and counting technologies. The manual is designed as a resource for democracy and governance specialists, election management bodies, election observers and political parties. It offers 25 country examples, including three in-depth case studies on Brazil, the Netherlands and the Philippines, highlighting lessons learned with these technologies, as well as practical nearly 20 checklists of key considerations. 

Available in English.


Monitoring and Mitigating Electoral Violence Through Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observation (2014)

This manual draws on lessons and best practices shared by NDI’s nonpartisan citizen election monitoring partners in addressing the issue of electoral violence. Nonpartisan citizen election observation organizations around the world have made great strides in monitoring and mitigating electoral related violence, though in many countries groups have only recently begun such efforts. The guide offers an overview of considerations and strategies available to groups considering electoral violence monitoring and/or mitigation and includes an extended case study on such work in Sri Lanka. 

Available in Arabic, English and French


West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) Field Guide Series (2013)

This field guide series serves as an easy-to-use reference tool for citizen groups seeking to implement evidence-based election monitoring efforts. Originally developed to serve members of the West African Election Observers Network (WAEON), the field guides cater to a global audience, and cover a range of topics critical to the work of observers including:

  • Systematic Methods for Advancing Election Observation;
  • Outreach and External Communication; and
  • Materials for Professional Election Observation: Designing Forms, Manuals and Trainings

Available in English and French


Unleashing the Potential of Open Election Data (2015)

This guide serves to equip civil society groups, election administrators and technologists with the concepts and tools to effectively advocate for, implement and use election data that is truly “open," and for stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the election process and what kinds of data are produced during each phase of an electoral cycle.

Available in English, Arabic, Spanish and French


Raising Voices in Closing Spaces: Strategic Communications Planning for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observer Groups (2019)

The online interactive guide "Raising Voices in Closing Spaces" is a manual designed to empower citizen election observer groups to break through authoritarian efforts to block, muffle, and discredit credible election observation. The guide helps groups spur action on electoral integrity by leveraging opportunities provided through information and communication technologies (ICTs) and by communicating in ways that are compelling, targeted, proactive, and media savvy. It includes examples and case studies from citizen election observer and other civil society groups from around the world that have implemented creative strategies for increasing the impact of their communications.

Available in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian


Supporting Social Accountability Campaigns with Sample-Based Observation (2021)

This guide is designed to support social accountability advocates in determining when and how to use the sample-based observation (SBO) methodology developed by citizen observer groups to strengthen advocacy efforts where processes can be independently observed, objectively measured and are large enough in scale to be sampled. It outlines key considerations, including: SBO applicability in advocacy campaign strategy; preconditions; working in partnerships; sampling methodology; data collection and analysis; and volunteer management. The guide explores effective advocacy and communication planning, such as early engagement with public officials and impacted community members, building a tailored outreach plan, and dynamic uses of SBO findings. It also provides lessons from social accountability SBOs conducted in Serbia and Tunisia. The strategies and lessons in this guide aim to expand the tools available to social accountability advocates to be more effective and impactful in supporting citizen calls for change.

Available in English, French and Spanish


How Citizen Organizations Can Monitor Abuse of States Resources in Elections: An NDI Guidance Document (2022)

This guide provides a framework for citizen election observers and civil society organizations to make strategic decisions about how to monitor the abuse of state resources and its impact on electoral integrity. It provides a detailed overview of the abuse of institutional, coercive, regulatory and budgetary resources in elections, with additional information on monitoring the abuse of media and legislative resources. The guide reviews various methodologies – including direct observation, key informant interviews, analysis of official data, in-depth investigation, verified citizen reports, and monitoring of traditional and social media – and discusses which are best suited to monitor different types of abuses, as well as strategies to develop communications plans and examples of election monitoring strategies used to document abuse of state resources around the world.

Available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish


Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) Guide (2024)

Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) - formerly known as “Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT)” - is an election day observation methodology that allows nonpartisan citizen organizations to systematically assess the quality of opening, voting, closing, and counting – as well as indirectly, the tabulation process –  at a national scale and independently verify official results. NDI’s PRVT guide details everything you need to know about the purpose of a PRVT for election day observation, how to carry one out, and best practices and case studies gathered from dozens of nonpartisan, citizen observation groups working on real-life PRVTs. This guide builds upon NDI’s previous guide The Quick Count and Election Observation, modernizing systematic election monitoring and analysis to meet new challenges and best practices. 

Available in English


Monitoring the Impact of New Election Technologies in Elections Toolkit (2024)

This toolkit provides both a framework and a roadmap for citizen and international observers to assess the impact, positive or negative, that adopting new electronic electoral technologies (EETs), also known as electoral information and communication technologies (eICTs), could have on the inclusiveness, transparency and accountability of election processes. It includes a set of principles and guidelines to consider during the adoption of EETs, developed by NDI in collaboration with other organizations endorsing the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation; a model checklist for monitoring the introduction of EETs; model recommendations for stakeholders responsible for the approval, funding or implementation of EETs; and research on the EET vendor landscape.

Available in English, French and Spanish 

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