Election monitoring is the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or a non-governmental organization, primarily to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation and international election standards.
There are national and international election observers.
Monitors do not directly prevent electoral fraud, but rather record and report such instances. Election observation increasingly looks at the entire electoral process over a longer period of time, rather than election-day proceedings only.
The legitimacy of an election can be affected by the criticism of monitors, provided that they themselves seen as unbiased.
A notable individual is often appointed honorary leader of a monitoring organization in an effort to enhance its own legitimacy.