Lisa Wold in Uzbekistan with the OSCE. Photo: NORDEM

Lisa, short-term observer to Uzbekistan

Published 07. Mar 2022
Lisa Wold served as a short term election observer with the OSCE to Uzbekistan

-  What is the main focus of your work? What is your typical day at work like? 

Shortly after I was recruited to NORDEM, I had the opportunity to be a short-term observer (STO) for an OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission for the first time. The role of the mission was to observe the early presidential election in Uzbekistan. Usually, the short-term observers arrive one week before the election day, for briefings with the core team members and the long-term election observers, as well as to get to know the assigned area of observation. As a short-term election observer, my main focus was to visit polling stations on election day to observe the opening, counting and the tabulation procedures, and to report the findings to the core team.  

 -What do you find most challenging in your assignment? 

The mission was the first OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission in Uzbekistan with short-term observers. We therefore had a particular responsibility to ensure that the Precinct District Commission members at the polling stations knew and understood our role, which could be challenging as it in many locations, was the first time they met international observers. Another challenge was dealing with the national media who asked us quite a few times during the day about our predictions of the electoral process. In line with the code of conduct we could only speak about the role of the observers and the methodology.  

-Which achievements are you most satisfied with? 

I am satisfied with that the whole mission contributed with professionality and positive team-spirit to deliver a thorough assessment of the election process to the Central Election Commission. As a new observer, I was impressed with the digital reporting of observation report forms, which made it possible to send the findings from each polling station directly to the core team immediately after the observations. Working with our local driver and interpreter as part of the STO-team was also a very good experience. I am satisfied that our mission acted as a responsible and professional employer for the many local staff employed by the mission.

-  What has made the strongest impression on you during your work? 

My STO partner and I were responsible for observing the entire process of the handover of protocols and the tabulation of results in the District Election Commission. The members of the Precinct District Commission at each polling station we visited were very hospitable and we could with ease observe the procedures, ask the necessary questions and report our findings to the core team. At the end of election day, however, we were not allowed to observe the procedures but had to observe the handover of protocols from a distance and were not able to observe the tabulation of results. In our findings to the core team we reported a lack of transparency. 

The election observation course organized by NORDEM gave me relevant training for my first mission as short-term observer in Uzbekistan. Before we attended the course, we had to complete the OSCE/ODIHR online training, that covered election observation methodology and most aspects of the work of short-term observers. I found the course provided by NORDEM very informative because it also included practical training. It was useful to work with the observation report forms with a partner and discuss with the other participants on how we should assess observations. 

Election Observation with the OSCE 

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) conducts election observation missions and assessments in all OSCE participating states. The ODIHR is the one of the main receivers of NORDEM election observers who each year provide valuable contributions to the work of the office in monitoring and enhancing democratic development in the OSCE region.