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September 27, 2004
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v2.1 Reference

Beyond Free and Fair

Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy

Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy draws on worldwide experience since the mid-1980s to evaluate international election monitoring and domestic monitoring, and their contributions to democracy promotion and democratic change. In this book, Eric Bjornlund provides an overview of what election monitoring is, where it comes from, and how it is currently conducted, and he educes general lessons for democracy promotion. Bjornlund reports on actual practice, including case studies of particular election monitoring efforts and the author's own experience in the field, and on a few previous efforts to synthesize guidelines and lessons learned.

Case studies include Cambodia, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, and Indonesia, with the last especially providing an opportunity to show how domestic monitors can be supported by international monitors, funders, and advisers. Bjornlund also devotes a chapter to the influential election monitoring work of former president Jimmy Carter.

The author criticizes the tendency to view elections and election monitoring narrowly rather than as part of broader strategies to build democracy. He makes practical recommendations about how election monitoring should evolve in the future if it is to continue to contribute to genuine democratization.

About the Author

Eric Bjornlund is a founder and principal of Democracy International, which evaluates and assists democracy and governance programs worldwide. He has also been associate director and Asia director of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2000–2001.


Thorough and richly documented... Contains the right mix of facts and statistics... Those interested in election monitoring will find it indispensable.

- Thomas G. Walker - Law and Politics Book Review


Eric Bjornlund combines solid research and extensive knowledge with vast practical experience (including insightful vignettes from several case studies) to produce a first rate book on the history and evolution of election observation. Given the dearth of written material that reflects the experience and lessons learned of the last 15 years of democracy promotion, Bjornlund has made a major contribution to the scholarly and policy work on an important subject. This book is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the complexities, challenges and achievements of programs and people working to improve elections around the world.

- Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House

Eric Bjornlund has written a book that has been much needed for years—a comprehensive, incisive account of the critically important field of election monitoring in new democracies. Moreover he has produced a masterful, field-defining work, infused with a probing, judicious spirit of constructive criticism, grounded in a wide range of practical cases, and packed with insights about how to do better.

- Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

An outstanding book in a important field. On the basis of an extensive field experience, Björnlund combines insightful conceptual analysis with detailed descriptions of relevant cases. A recommended reading for those involved in electoral observation.

- Horacio Boneo, former Director, United Nations Electoral Assistance Division

Authoritative study of an important but neglected topic.

- Future Survey
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9780801880506 : beyond-free-and-fair-bjornlund
Paperback / softback
408 Pages
$22.95 USD

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