VOTER SUPPRESSION. DISENFRANCHISEMENT. Gerrymandering. Can Tuesday’s midterms in the United States really be considered free and fair elections?
Perhaps we should consult with the experts. Few Americans have heard of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE; even fewer are aware that OSCE observers have been keeping tabs on U.S. elections since 2002, at the invitation of the U.S. State Department.
On October 26, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Washington, D.C., issued an interim report on the 2018 midterms. It didn’t make for pleasant reading. “The right to vote is subject to many limitations,” warned the report, “with racial minorities disproportionately impacted.”
This isn’t the first time the OSCE has sounded the alarm. In the wake of the 2016 presidential race, OSCE observers praised the U.S. for holding a “highly competitive” election while also criticizing a campaign “characterized by harsh personal attacks, as well as intolerant rhetoric” and changes to election rules that “were often motivated by partisan interests, adding undue obstacles for voters.”
“Suffrage rights,” the 2016 observers concluded, were “not guaranteed for all citizens, leaving sections of the population without the right to vote.”
Is that what a free and fair election is supposed to look like? It should be a source of shame that the United States, once held up as a model to emerging democracies around the globe, now needs outside observers to remind it of its most basic democratic obligations.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…