Since 1989, The Carter Center has observed 101 elections in 39 countries (listed below). Missions are undertaken only upon the invitation or consent of all major parties to an election.
Observers bring a reputation for impartiality, and their presence helps to reassure voters that they can safely and secretly cast their ballots. As the eyes and ears of the international community, observers also help deter fraud. Carter Center observation projects generally begin well in advance of elections. Observer teams are often in a country to assess registration exercises and political campaigns. During elections, the observers monitor voting and counting and remain after the ballots have been counted to monitor vote tabulation.
Before an election, Carter Center observers meet with election officials and party leaders to discuss electoral procedures. Sometimes they mediate election disputes and help all sides to agree on election rules. During this phase, assessments are made of the voter registration process, voter education efforts, and the fairness of the campaign "field of play."
On election day, observers are dispatched with systematic survey forms to urban and rural areas to witness preparations at poll openings, voting, and vote counting to try to determine whether the vote was secret and fair at the sites they visited. In addition to talking with polling site officials and party witnesses, observers talk with citizens and note any complaints.
After polls close, delegates observe the counting of votes and the delivery of ballot boxes. Then, the entire delegation meets to discuss its observations and issue a statement of findings as a group. If necessary, qualified high-level observers can serve as mediators to facilitate the peaceful transfer of power.
Once election results are confirmed, The Carter Center sometimes remains engaged in a country through the inauguration of a new president and beyond, particularly in countries where the Center has had or anticipates a long-term involvement. Post-election activities to strengthen people's confidence in their democratic institutions can take many forms, and in the past, have included projects to protect and promote human rights, build civil society, refine the democratic electoral process, and address economic or development issues.
Updated January 2016
Elections Monitored by The Carter Center:
(January 2016 figures)
(July 1999, September 2011)
(March 1997*, July 1997*, March 1998*, January 1999*, September 1999*, January 2000*, August 2000*, September 2001*, December 2001*, December 2002*, June 2004*, May 2005*, May 2006*, March 2010*)
(July 1992, August 1994, July 1997, July 2000)
(November 2010, December 2011)
(December 1999, November 2003, December 2004, October 2014)
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
(July 2006, November 2011)
(April 2008, April 2009*, November 2013)
(September 2007*, September 2008*)
(December 1998, January 1999, February 20, 1999, Feb. 27, 1999)
|Occupied Palestinian Territory |
(January 1996, January 2005, January 2006)
(December 2008, November 1992)
(May 1989, May 1994)
(April 2000, April 2001)
|Sierra Leone |
(May 2002, November 2012)
(December 1997, October 2002)
(August 1999, August 2001, April 2002, June 2007)
(December 2002, March 2013)
(October 2011, October 2014, November 2014)
(December 1998, July 2000, August 2004, December 2006*)
(July 1997, October 2005, October 2011)
(October 1991, December 2001)
|*These missions were targeted or focused observations and did not result in statements on the overall administration of the electoral process.|