We often hear that "international observers" deemed that certain elections were fair or unfair. But who exactly are the groups or people among these international observers and who chooses them? How can we be sure of their credibility?
In Europe and some areas beyond it, it is often the OSCE. The OSCE consists of many different states, and it has worked a long time to establish their reputation. It usually finds suggestions for improvement even when the elections are considered by-and-large democratic, from campaign finance transparency to gerrymandering.
Standards of democratic conduct have been improved considerably. By 2000 or so, it was reported that 80% of elections are to have been observed by a non-partisan.
CANADEM is one international NGO (Non-governmental organisation) that attends to issues around the world to observe, introduce values and report on democratic processes. NGOs like this exist in all democratic nations and can be called upon.
In Canada you can be sure that we will have a similar NGO attending our democratic processes. A representative from one of these NGOs does not benefit from the outcome of the election, therefore is not influenced to report anything other than what they witnessed at the polling station.