Anti-pandemic measures confused US voters, OSCE says

3 weeks ago

WASHINGTON, November 5. /TASS/. Measures, undertaken by the US authorities during the electoral campaign due to the pandemic of the coronavirus infection caused lengthy lawsuits and confused voters, a statement by the International Election Observation Mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) made public on Wednesday said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic not only presented numerous challenges to the organization of the elections but also significantly impacted the conduct and content of the campaign,” the document said. The mission noted that “the COVID-19 pandemic led to a plethora of state level amendments which would allow the elections to be held while protecting the health of voters and election administration officials. A significant proportion of these measures were challenged in courts, mostly by the Republican Party, resulting in protracted litigation seeking to maintain previous arrangements. This in turn produced a great deal of legal uncertainty even in the days leading up to the elections.”

The OSCE stressed that over 400 lawsuits were filed in 44 states in relation to the election which was unprecedented in the United States. ” There was an unprecedented volume of litigation over voting processes in the months before the elections, with over 400 lawsuits filed in 44 states, some still before the courts a few days before elections. The legal uncertainty caused by this ongoing litigation placed an undue burden on some voters wishing to cast their ballots and on election administration officials,” the mission said.

Additionally, in their opinion, voter registration and identification rules in the US create unjustified obstacles for some population categories when voting. “Voter registration and identification rules in some states are unduly restrictive for certain groups of citizens,” the document noted. The mission added that “an estimated 5.2 million citizens are disenfranchised due to a criminal conviction, with many of them having already served their sentences.”.

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