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Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev

The Problem of Selection Bias in OSCE Election Observation Methodology

Max Bader Hans Schmeets
Journal 10 July 2013

One of the biggest problem in OSCE election observation methodology concerns the selection of polling stations where the observation is conducted: in practice, polling stations that are visited by observers are disproportionally urban and located in or around the national capital and in regional centers. Because visited polling stations are not representative of all polling stations, the observation mission risks getting an unbalanced picture of the shortcomings in the election. In this article, we present findings from original research that shed light on the scope of the problem of distortion in the selection of polling stations, and discuss potential ways to overcome the problem.

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