The Committee for Open Democracy specializes in election observation and monitoring. Established in 2010 by veterans of the election observation and broader Democracy and Governance field, the Committee seeks to improve the pre-electoral environment with concrete recommendations, prevent election fraud, and improve the electoral environment in developing democracies. We provide unique capacities – not only do we begin our Election Observation Missions (EOMs) up to six months prior to election day, with expert monitors who know from decades of experience where to look and what to look out for…our organization also contains almost zero ongoing overhead.
Our structure is virtually unique in this field – both in how we fundraise and in how we intentionally collapse the organization to no more than a handful of part-time core staff after each EOM. We are able to do this by having a vast network of expert, veteran observers we call upon as contracted Long-Term Obvservers (LTOs), who return to their regular lives as retired dignitaries, retired elected officials, political consultants, and other flexible-schedule lifestyles after each EOM. Additionally, the vast majority of our fundraising is done in what is a very American and free-market approach to non-profit/NGO operations: we survive on private donations from individuals and businesses, often organized through fundraising events common to any American political campaign or non-profit.
Why have we structured ourselves this way? Because it allows us absolute, categorical independence, and it ensures our donors are getting maximum return on their investment in democracy. In doing so, we are never reliant on any given donor, and have completely shielded ourselves from any pressure. We are beholden to no one, and as a consequence, we deliver our findings in an unvarnished and forthright manner. One of our core beliefs is that peoples of emerging democracies have a fundamental human right to free and fair elections – they will hear what we find. Diplomacy is not our mission: democracy is.