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

Dr John Ault


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’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.

Alex Ollington

Head of Communications

Alex Ollington completed both his BA and MA in International Relations at the University in Exeter. He was observed elections across Europe with Democracy Volunteers. He leads the communications team within the organisation.

Starting in 2016 with Democracy Volunteers, he has since gone on to work in events marketing and PR but maintains his role at Democracy Volunteers using his marketing experience. In 2021, Alex was the recipient of the ‘Diana Award’ in recognition of his voluntary work for Democracy Volunteers.

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.

Ben Sharpe

Education Engagement Officer

Ben Sharpe completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Manchester where he studied Politics & Criminology.

It was from his first year in Manchester that he began to observe elections domestically and internationally on behalf of Democracy Volunteers. He has also completed an MSc in Comparative Criminal Justice from Leiden University. This involved a comparative analysis of legal systems across the world with specific focus in the dissertation upon the differing provisions of legislation to support prisoner voting in several jurisdictions across the UK and the USA.

Following this he undertook a PGCE in Secondary Educational History which prepared him for his current role as Education Engagement Officer on behalf of Democracy Volunteers. This role involves engaging with students at both secondary and tertiary levels of education.

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