Readers' Guide Comment on “a new organization to strengthen . . . mass citizen participation in the monitoring and reporting of election irregularities”
Currently, the world has international election monitoring teams associated with either a group of governments (e.g. the EU) or a recognized international civil society body (e.g. The Carter Center). These bodies provide a degree of institutional protection to the highly risky functions of election watching, ballot counting, and voter intimidation. The credibility of their final evaluations on the legitimacy of an election is based in large part on their institutional reputations. If their reports are strongly negative, then it is likely that some associated states will not extend diplomatic recognition because of the tainted election results.
The challenge for a new organization using domestic election reporters would be to provide physical protection for the election observers and to send a clear message about the international legitimacy and validity of the election results, neither of which crowdsourcing techniques can assure.
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