OSCE says allegations of fraud in US elections have caused confusion
The organization also said that statements by US President Donald Trump undermine the credibility of democratic institutions.
WASHINGTON, November 4th. / TASS /. Lawsuits filed too late regarding US election procedures, as well as allegations of tampering on face-to-face voting day, have led to confusion and concern among the general public. This assessment was given on Wednesday at a press conference in Washington by the head of the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Georg Link.
"Uncertainty due to late filing of lawsuits and < ... > allegations of electoral fraud, including on election day evening, have led to confusion and concern on the part of election officials and voters, as well as concerns, of course, among the general public, "he said.
Link also said that unfounded allegations from incumbent US President Donald Trump were damaging public confidence in democratic institutions.
The American election campaign has been characterized by political polarization and baseless allegations of systematic fraud, according to a statement released Wednesday by the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), whose mission oversees US elections and counting. "The campaign was characterized by deep-seated political polarization, which often overshadowed broader political debate and included baseless claims of systematic fraud," the document says. In addition, according to the mission, "the voting was tense and competitive with a high degree of involvement of electoral officials and citizens in an environment of great legal uncertainty and a significantly polarized political environment, fueled by aggressive pre-election rhetoric."
So, presenting a report in Washington, the German parliamentarian Michael Georg Link called the allegations of the shortcomings of the electoral system by the current US President Donald Trump groundless. "Baseless allegations of systematic shortcomings, especially on the part of the incumbent, including on the night of the election, damage public confidence in democratic institutions [in the US]," he stressed.
Ursula Gacek, head of the OSCE / ODIHR observer mission, who was present at the briefing, said that European specialists will remain in the United States longer than expected. “This election is not over yet, and we remain here in the [metropolitan] District of Columbia and in key states across the country until that (vote count is complete - TASS note). It is imperative that every correct ballot is due calculated, "she said.
The measures taken by the US authorities during the election campaign in connection with the coronavirus pandemic caused protracted lawsuits and confused voters, it said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic posed a colossal challenge to the organization of the elections, but it also had a significant campaign impact. The measures taken to ensure that voters can vote during the pandemic caused protracted, party-driven lawsuits that negatively affected the work of the electoral process control bodies and confused voters, "the document says. More than 400 election-related lawsuits have been filed in 44 states, which is unprecedented in the United States, the OSCE stressed.
“In the months leading up to the election, there was an unprecedented volume of litigation over the voting process: more than 400 lawsuits were filed in 44 states, some of which were still pending in the courts in the days leading up to the election. a burden on some voters and on the staff of election commissions, "the authors of the statement say.
In addition, in their opinion, the requirements for establishing the identity of a voter in the United States create unjustified obstacles to voting for a number of categories of the population. "The requirements for identifying voters disproportionately affect certain categories of the population, creating unjustified obstacles for them to vote. At the same time, about 5.2 million citizens are deprived of voting rights due to criminal convictions, although about half of them have already served their sentences." , - noted in the document.
The OSCE / ODIHR is concerned about the financing of election campaigns in the United States, the statement said. “Concerns have also been raised about campaign finance. While this is regulated at the federal level, subject to caps on individual campaign donations and full disclosure of this information, unrestricted independent spending provisions significantly reduce transparency and increase the influence of money in politics.” noted in the document. The total expenditure on the current American elections reaches $ 14 billion, according to the OSCE.
At the same time, the United States authorities have allocated insufficient funds to overcome the problems associated with voting by mail, the authors of the report say. "While emergency funds have been allocated to help states overcome the pandemic's electoral challenges, they have not been sufficient to address the additional challenges posed by the huge increase in online voter registration and postal voting." indicated in the text.
The OSCE / ODIHR international mission includes 102 observers from 39 countries: 50 experts and observers sent by the ODIHR, and 52 parliamentarians and staff members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.