The democracy promotion organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter will monitor US elections for the first time during this year’s midterms.
The Carter Center has monitored more than 110 elections in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia since 1989 as part of its efforts to promote democracy around the world. But it has never carried out similar operations in the US.
This year, however, it will send observers to three states — Georgia, Michigan and Arizona — each with a different mission, but with the overall goal of building confidence in the integrity of the voting process.
David Carroll, director of the center’s Democracy Program, said The independent that the move “represents a recognition that threats to democratic institutions and norms are greater in the United States than in some other countries around the world.”
“And it deserves special attention and prioritization by groups like ours that work to promote respect for democracy and democratic principles,” he added.
The unprecedented decision to monitor the US election comes amid a crisis of confidence in the democratic process across the country. The Republican Party, nominally led by Donald Trump, is now candidates dominate promoting baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, including some who have threatened to just accept the results elections are won. According to recent votingabout 28 percent of all voters, including 41 percent of Republicans, said they had little or no faith in the accuracy of this year’s midterm elections.
Because each US state has its own election laws, the Carter Center’s monitoring activities will look different in each state. Arizona, for example, has no provision in law for the presence of nonpartisan election observers at polling places on Election Day. The center’s activities there will include observing the preliminary testing of ballot counting machines, watching live streams of ballot activity and observing other parts of the process that are open to the public.
In Michigan, they will work with two organizations that focus on the rights of people with disabilities and will monitor Election Day on a limited scale. And in Georgia, the center will monitor Fulton County under an agreement with the county and the Secretary of State’s office.
Mr. Carroll said the Carter Center’s midterm project differed from the usual comprehensive country missions and instead was more of a “pilot of different kinds of activities in different states depending on the context and what’s possible.”
in 2020, The independent mentionted on the Carter Center’s first U.S. ballot initiative. – an initiative that does not live up to the kind of monitoring activities it is known for worldwide. This effort involved awareness and observation of post-election ballot audits in Georgia. This year’s efforts represent a significantly increased commitment to the US electoral process, but with a similar goal of addressing “the public’s lack of confidence in the accuracy and management of elections, Mr. Carroll said.
“I’m under no illusions that what we’re doing is necessarily going to change the calculus of how our elections are understood, but I think we can be part of a bigger picture, involving a number of different kinds of multi-group activities, to try to help people to better understand what happens during the election,” Mr Carroll said.
The Carter Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 by Jimmy Carter – who served as president from 1977 to 1981 – and his wife Rosalynn. Its website says it seeks to “prevent and resolve conflict, strengthen freedom and democracy, and improve health.” It works around the world to promote democracy by monitoring elections and training on electoral integrity.
President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of tireless efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, promote democracy and human rights, and promote economic and social development” – much of which was done through of his work with the center.