We are a small team of talented and experienced election professionals and observers with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with enthusiasm. We look forward to working with you.

Dr John Ault

Director

Dr John Ault FRSA FRGS is the Executive Director of Democracy Volunteers. John has worked in elections throughout the UK and the United States since the 1980s. He has observed on behalf of the OSCE/ODIHR in parliamentary elections as far afield as Kazakhstan and is a former chair of the UK’s Electoral Reform Society.

He has also previously been elected to local government in the UK as well as being appointed to the South West Regional Assembly. He has been Head of Mission for Democracy Volunteers including the UK general elections in 2017 and 2019, as well as elections in The Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Sweden. He has also been a consultant on the subject of electoral and parliamentary reform in Moldova and for the UK’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and has previously lectured at various UK universities.

Harry Busz

Head of Operations

Harry Busz studied Human Geography at Cardiff University, which sparked and wrote his dissertation about voter intentions and attitudes towards the Brexit referendum in the South Wales Valleys.

Going on to do an MA in International Relations at the University of Exeter and focused his studies on political ideologies and campaigning at elections and referendums.

Harry was originally a volunteer, joining in 2019 and conducting a number of observations with us in the UK and abroad.

He is responsible for ensuring the successful deployment of our volunteers the UK and overseas. This role allows him to coordinate not only the logistics of Democracy Volunteers’ deployments, but also act as a Long Term Observer for our missions, engaging in meetings with different electoral authorities, political parties and other interlocutors to ensure our reports are comprehensive and accurate.

Dr Leah Phillips

Head of Events

Dr Leah Phillips has research affiliations with University College London and the University of Warwick. She is also now a Senior Lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University.

She’s the founder and President of the YA Studies Association and has an international reputation as a leading figure in the study of literature for young people.

Dr Phillips’s work includes an interest in the youth vote and in empowering young people to exercise their political voices.

She has observed elections in the UK and abroad.

Juliana Christianson

Podcast Editor

Juliana studied BA Politics at the University of Liverpool, which sparked her interest in the British democratic system. She went on to complete her MRes in Social Research.

First joining as an intern for Democracy Volunteers during her masters degree, Juliana has continued to observe elections with the team. She works in local government in the UK.

She is now the co-host of Democracy Volunteer’s podcast – ‘The Election Observer’, along with Tom Fidler.

Max Wheeler

Head of Training

Max is a founding member of Democracy Volunteers and has been observing elections since 2013, since then he has observed over 20 elections in 8 countries, mostly in the UK.

As our Head of Training, Max is responsible for making sure all our volunteers know what to look for, how to record their observations, and how to conduct themselves while observing.

He is particularly proud of the video and webinar training we created for the oversees volunteers that joined us for the 2019 General Election and in 2022 is working to create a new suite of election observation online training modules.

Kim Kippen

Elections Administration Expert

Kim Kippen is a Canadian electoral operations specialist with over twenty-five years experience in domestic election administration and on international election observation missions. Her domestic election experience includes a wide variety of operational roles with federal and provincial election management bodies, both at headquarters and in the field. She has held positions as a Returning Officer, Regional Liaison Officer and Field Liaison Officer.

Kim has been an election administration expert with Democracy Volunteers for the Finnish Parliamentary elections in 2019 and the UK Westminster General Election in the same year. She will be the elections administration expert for the Swedish Parliamentary elections in September 2022.

Owen Barnett

International Elections Intern

Owen, who recently graduated from the University of Exeter where he studied BSc Geography with Applied GIS, is interning at Democracy Volunteers. He will be assisting with the preparatory pre-deployment work for the observation of the Swedish General Election in September 2022.  

Owen has previous experience observing elections with Democracy Volunteers, both the Welsh Senedd Parliamentary Election in 2021 and the Local Elections in England in 2022, before recently joining Democracy Volunteers as an intern. This will involve preparing our volunteers for the observation through training, logistical planning, and wider election related research. 


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