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

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. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and has previously lectured at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Manchester.

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 my 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.

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.

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 15 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.

Our interns

In 2021, we have worked with the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool to engage two interns to support our work in the Spring, including our work for the parliamentary, Mayoral and local elections. We would like to welcome Juliana and Mia to the team and hope they will enjoy their work with Democracy Volunteers over the coming months.

Juliana Christianson

Intern

Juliana Christianson is currently studying for her Masters of Research in Social Research at the University of Liverpool, where she also obtained a BA Politics degree.

Juliana is passionate about British Politics and tailored her studies to focus on areas like voting behaviour and devolution. Her research area for both her undergraduate and masters dissertation focuses on British MPs and representation in the House of Commons.

Mia Terra St Hill

Intern

Mia Terra St Hill is a final year Politics & International Relations student at the University of Exeter. She has been a volunteer with Democracy Volunteers since 2019 and has observed in deployments in Northern Ireland and the 2019 UK General Election. As President of the Falmouth & Exeter Politics Society at university, she ran 2 Election Hustings for the 2019 General Election to get students and members of the local community to engage with the candidates standing. The society also took part in a ‘register to vote’ campaign ran by the Students’ Union to encourage young people to use their voice.

Her research interests are in feminist approaches to foreign policy and security and she is currently writing her dissertation on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security and how it has been incorporated to UK foreign Policy.


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