UPDATE: See “Election Monitoring: Power, Limits and Risks” an “Expert Markets and Democracy Brief” at the Council on Foreign Relations website, including discussion of the 1992 and 2007 IRI observations in Kenya.
Monitoring Democracy: When International Election Observation Works and Why It Often Fails, newly released this month by Dr. Judith Kelley at Duke, from Princeton University Press is a major contribution to the academic study and assessment of election observation. This isn’t East Africa specific, but with all major elections in the region now drawing a variety of international observation mission on a regular basis, it is time to apply the kind of social science analysis that is used to look at the effectiveness of other types of aid/assistance or foreign policy interventions.
I’m still reading so I’ll wait for a full review, but I can definitely encourage anyone devoting significant time and effort to elections on an international basis to add this to the core library.
The idea that observer missions have their own agenda is obvious. I guess the book does bring this to light more than before. Let it be known that some observer missions have even pre-written their final comments before the resutls are announced! In fact I think most do. But I think the statistical work is lacking. I don’t think the data is very comparable. So we have case studies. The groups all ahve their own agenda in mind and probably dont want to make the same data so that they can continue their own old ways.