Earlier this week, Election Dissection went into detail about the Carter Center's work on the U.S. election. Now we note that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has issued its interim report card on America's 2020 vote. The overall grade: needs to improve.
The OSCE, which is known for its work helping countries to build democratic institutions, has observed U.S. elections going back to 2002. It has often noted flaws in the way we vote, but this year the organization is sounding many alarms familiar to pro-democracy groups in the United States.
The OSCE says ongoing litigation about voting rules may mean some voters will be disenfranchised. It notes that COVID relief funds given to the Election Assistance Commission won't be enough to offset added costs of the pandemic. It notes that restrictions like showing an ID will have a disproportionate impact on minority voters. It notes that the media landscape is "highly polarized," and that coverage of the presidential race drowns out attention to state and local campaigns. And it notes that social media companies have only begun to tackle disinformation.
The group examines some uniquely American problems, like the fact that 4.6 million citizens residing in Washington, D.C., and other territories can't vote for members of Congress. And 5.2 million people with criminal convictions can't vote at all. Also that campaign finance is largely unregulated, and that as far as political speech is concerned, corporations and labor unions are legally the same as individual people.
But the biggest worry of all is President Trump's constant flogging of unfounded rumors of fraud, according to the OSCE. Experts interviewed by the organization "have expressed grave concerns about the risk of legitimacy of the elections being questioned due to the incumbent president's repeated allegations of a fraudulent election process," the report states.
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