International election monitoring is a phenomenon that began to spread rapidly in the 1990s and has since become an essential element of elections in the developing world. This study assesses the relationship between the presence of international election monitors during presidential elections and levels of voters' confidence in the electoral process. Several questions guide the study: How did the norm of international election monitoring develop and how widely do governments adhere to this norm? Are citizens more confident in the efficacy and transparency of presidential elections when international monitors are present? I hypothesize that when governments adhere to the norm of international election monitoring by inviting international observers, citizens will have higher levels of confidence in the electoral process. I conduct a comparative case study examining the presidential elections in Benin, Mali, and Guinea between 1990 and 2011. Using election monitors' reports, literature surrounding each of the elections, and public opinion survey data reflecting citizens' perceptions of the elections and democracy in their countries, I test the relationship between the two variables in my model. The findings suggest that a positive correlation between the variables is likely. However, because no data currently exists that directly measures the impacts of international election monitors, the study ultimately concludes that further research must be done to confirm the positive relationship between international monitors' presence and voters' confidence levels.


N’Diaye, Boubacar


International Relations


Comparative Politics | International and Intercultural Communication


election monitor, democracy, norm, voter confidence, west africa, election

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2013 Lauren E. Gilliss