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What training do I need as a Short-Term Observer?

You donít necessarily need any. Some Member State Focal Points organise courses for new Short-Term Observers (STOs) Ė check with yours whether they offer a course. You can find your Focal Pointís contact details here. We recommend writing them a short, polite email, rather than phoning. If they have a website, make sure you read it carefully before contacting them with requests for information which is already available online.

STOs get a briefing from the Core Team when they arrive in the country, explaining the electoral and political context. The experts will go through the observation forms in detail and show you how to fill them in. Once deployed to your area of responsibility, you will also get a briefing from your Long-Term Observer team on the regional context of the place where you will be observing.

You are observing whether certain procedures are followed and filling out forms to that effect. You donít need a lot of technical training for that, but you do need to have an understanding of the electoral procedures and your role in the process.

As an STO, youíre not there to judge, you are not an inspector and you should be conscious of the fact that your presence might make polling officials anxious and voters curious Ė be as polite and unobtrusive as you can be. The important thing is to observe, without getting in the way.

NEEDS has prepared an informal hand out for people who will be STOs for the first time. Itís free of charge and you can view it here.