The goals of election observation are enhanced public confidence in the efficiency and integrity of the election process, and more efficient election operations.
Any voting system -- whether an optical scan paper ballot system, a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system, or something else -- has to function for the duration of the voting process, and election observers are trained to spot situations in which malfunctions, power outages, lengthy-set up times or other problems prevent voters from casting their votes, discourage them from doing do so, or cause votes already cast to be lost.
Election observers look at how voting machines protect against malfunctions, whether election officials can easily repair basic problems, and whether officials have been trained to deal with problems that arise during the voting process.
This means that one way to improve the reliability of voting systems in the United States is to have election officials work more closely with election observers. Read more: http://www.electionline.org/index.php/electionline-weekly