There’s an interesting article in an Elections Canada publication, by Eric C. Bjornlund, “Improviing Vote Count Verifications in Transitional Elections.” Bjornlund is also the author of “Beyond Free and Fair” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), which is a definitive study of international election monitoring. Here’s an abstract of the article:
Despite the increasing popularity of exit polls in international election assistance programs, this article argues that “parallel vote tabulations” (PVTs) or “quick counts” are a more appropriate tool for verifying vote counts in transitional or post-conflict elections. PVTs – often conducted by local monitoring organizations – are generally more reliable than exit polls in political environments characterized by intimidation or uncertainty, as is typical in such elections. Although exit polls can provide insights about voter motivation, the use of exit polls to verify or project results often fails to serve the purpose of true democratization by undercutting the role of domestic organizations. To contribute more effectively to democratic elections, international donors and advisors must better understand these techniques.
Thanks to Susan Hyde for passing along this link!