The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is currently accepting applications for observer status in the 2019 national and provincial elections, from organisations only.Interested parties must download the application for accreditation and return the completed forms to the IEC by no later than 17h00 on 31 March 2019.Observers, both domestic and international, play a crucial role in ensuring that the elections are transparent, free and fair, and that the outcome is accepted by voters, political parties and candidates.According to the UN, election observation is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections, as:“Observers help build public confidence in the honesty of electoral processes. Observation can help promote and protect the civil and political rights of participants in elections. It can lead to the correction of errors or weak practices, even while an election process is still under way. It can deter manipulation and fraud, or expose such problems if they do occur. When observers issue positive reports, it builds trust in the democratic process and enhances the legitimacy of the governments that emerge from elections.”International observers often have vast experience of elections in various parts of the world and are able to give an election management body like the IEC invaluable advice and support.What do observers do?Observers keep an eye on the voting process at voting stations, the counting of votes, and the final counting, determination and declaration of results.RegulationsView the rules for accreditation, sample application form, sample certificate of accreditation, and code of conduct by downloading the regulations on the accreditation of observers.How to applyDownload and fill in the form;Send it to the IEC via one of the following methods:E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.orgPost to Election House, Riverside Office Park, 1303 Heuwel Avenue, Centurion, 0046Fax to (012) 622 5369Please note that election observation is a voluntary activity with no remuneration. Only ORGANISATIONS need apply.Please direct all enquiries to email@example.com. • Image from Wikimedia Commons.