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


Dr John Ault FRSA FRGS is the Executive Director of Democracy Volunteers. John has worked in elections throughout the UK, Europe, and the United States since the 1980s. He has observed on behalf of the OSCE/ODIHR and the UK Parliament’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in parliamentary elections as wide-ranging as Kazakhstan and the Isle of Man. He is a former chair of the UK’s Electoral Reform Society and has previously been elected to local government and the UK’s South-West Regional Assembly.

John has observed numerous elections for Democracy Volunteers, including Swedish and Norwegian parliamentary elections, the UK general elections in 2017 and 2019, the Finnish presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018, 2019 and 2023, as well as Dutch elections in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023. He has been an academic consultant on electoral and parliamentary reform in Moldova. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and has previously lectured at several UK universities. He has also been a Research Fellow for the Constitution Society, writing the recent article ‘An accident waiting to happen? Voter ID in the 2023 English local elections.’ He specialises in elections and campaigns and has published several books, including his doctoral thesis on electoral campaigning.

Harry Busz

Deputy Director – Policy and Communications

Harry was previously our Head of Operations but has recently been promoted to become to be Deputy Director of the organisation. Harry Busz is a graduate in Human Geography at Cardiff University and holds an MA in International Relations from Exeter University and is currently researching for his PhD in Politics at Newcastle University. His research focuses on electoral integrity and the role of international, regional, and domestic observer groups in improving electoral practices across the OSCE region.

He has participated in multiple domestic and international observations such as the 2019 local elections in Northern Ireland, the provincial and Water Board elections in The Netherlands, national elections in Austria, as well as being the election coordinator for the 2020 USA midterm elections and 2019 UK general election, Ireland’s 2020 general election, Denmark’s 2021 kommune & regional elections, The Netherlands 2022 and 2023 elections, the Swedish 2022 parliamentary elections, and Finland’s in 2023.

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.

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