ATLANTA — The Carter Center — which has monitored more than 100 foreign elections for fairness and honesty since 1989 — will ask, for the first time, that U.S. election officials allow observers to watch this year’s presidential voting.
In a news release issued Friday by the center, CEO Paige Alexander said, “Given the scale of problems today — including deep polarization, lack of confidence in elections, obstacles to participation by minority groups and others, persistent racial injustice, and the COVID-19 pandemic — the center has decided that it should try to improve elections here at home, drawing on its global experience observing troubled elections and its knowledge of international standards.”
Carter Center officials provided no additional details.
In an opinion piece on cnn.com, Jason Carter, chairman of The Carter Center Board of Trustees, and David Carroll, director of the Carter Center’s Democracy Program, wrote: “People on both the right and left are concerned about threats to the security of the election and the credibility of the process.”
The center will ask election officials to grant monitors, partisan and nonpartisan, access to observe voting. It plans to push for transparency at each step, from preparation of voting machines to vote audits. The center will provide to the public information about how elections ought to be working and point out where problems are likely or where there is a lack of information and awareness.
Many have expressed concerns about upcoming elections, from President Donald Trump, who is criticizing voting by mail, to those in Georgia who question the new voting machines or what effect long lines during the primaries will have on voters.
The center does not plan widespread observation of polling places, but may send limited numbers of observers to a few key locations.
Beyond 2020, The Carter Center hopes to advance voting rights and other needed U.S. reforms, such as steps to ensure fair election administration, transparency in campaign finance, expanded digital literacy and reforms to the Electoral College.
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