A report from international election observers on their preliminary findings on U.S. elections starts off promisingly. “The 8 November general elections were highly competitive,” they said, “and demonstrated commitment to fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association.” The observers also commended local election officials for their competence and professionalism. But that’s about where the positivity ends. Hundreds of election monitors from around the world fanned out across the United States on Tuesday to ensure free and fair elections, as well as to document the process for the benefit of their home nations. About 300 of them were brought to the United States by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE’s report damns the U.S. elections with faint praise, and then gets to the meat of the issue: Too many voting machines are faulty, and huge portions of the population can’t vote anyhow.
In 13 percent of observations, OSCE representatives noted malfunctions with electronic voting machines. That is roughly 1 in 8 votes. They said possible causes could be lack of pre-election testing of the machines, which may have been outdated or ill-maintained to begin with. In some cases, voters were noted to have complained that their choices were not accurately recorded by functioning machines, which the observers said could play into claims of election rigging in the public’s perception. Those instances may have been caused by “poorly calibrated equipment,” they said.
One in 10 voters also had to wait in line for more than 30 minutes to cast their vote, especially at polling stations the observers said were short on staff, particularly during pre-work, morning voting hours. The OSCE observers were able to visit 932 polling stations in 33 states, but were denied access to 17 states, including Indiana, Delaware, Maine, Missouri and New Jersey.