Following an official invitation to observe the US general election in November and an in-country assessment in May, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) plans to deploy 100 long-term and 400 short-term observers to the US this fall. The mission will also include a media monitoring element and will be complimented by a core team of analysts. While the long-term observers are slated to follow the election process across the country already before election day, the short-term observers are tasked with monitoring the polls on election day only. Election observers are usually seconded for the mission by OSCE participating states. Four years ago the OSCE deployed 44 short-term observers across the country as well as a core team of 13 experts to monitor the 2012 US election. No short-term contingent was sent for what was considered a “limited mission.”
The decision to bolster the mission and add a long-term contingent this year is based on the results of the in-country “needs assessment” visit earlier this year, Thomas Rymer, the spokesperson for the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), told DW. ODIHR carries out the election observation missions in OSCE participating countries like the US. The US mission is scheduled to begin in October.
During its assessment visit to the US, ODIHR specialists met with officials and representatives from 27 institutions including federal and state governments, political parties, civil society and the media to discuss election monitoring options based on needs identified.