Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE)
WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement applauding the Organization of American States for sending its first ever election observation mission to the United States. The announcement comes after the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) announced that it would send a mission of 500 observers to monitor the 2016 election—a tenfold increase from its 2012 delegation.
Both announcements come as the Trump campaign has reiterated its call for supporters to intimidate voters at polling places in “certain sections” of Pennsylvania, a reference to majority-Black precincts in Philadelphia.
“We are so thankful that the international community is sending the world’s most experienced election observers to the United States in November.
The OSCE’s announced tenfold increase in election observers and the first ever United States deployment from the OAS comes as the right to vote is more vulnerable than at any time in the past 50 years.
The need for additional election observers is paramount. The unprecedented weakening of the Voting Rights Act has led to a tidal wave of voter discrimination efforts nationwide and has required the United States to drastically scale back its own election monitoring program. Donald Trump has made the demonization of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities a hallmark of his campaign and continues to urge his supporters to challenge voters at polling sites.
Congress needs to restore the VRA immediately. Additional monitors can never replace what we lost when the VRA was gutted but we have to use every possible means to ensure the integrity of this election isn’t compromised by racial discrimination and intimidation.
We’re thankful for the additional transparency that the OAS and OSCE can provide. We now have to fight in the courts and at the ballot box for every voter and even our nation’s best and most well-organized efforts will not meet the demand we’re confronted with.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.