A group of European election observers in the US who wanted to oversee the presidential election announced their preliminary results on Wednesday, criticizing President Donald Trump for his repeated lies about electoral fraud and the integrity of the elections.
At a press conference, high-ranking members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who have been invited to oversee the US elections since 2002, discussed the “highly polarized political environment” and the “sharp rhetoric” on both sides.
The European observers, while stressing that they are impartial and will not make political judgments, saved their worst comments for Trump himself.
“Unfounded allegations of systematic deficiencies, especially of the incumbent President, even on election night, undermine public confidence in democratic institutions,” said Michael Georg Link, a German special coordinator and head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s short-term observer mission.
Urszula Gacek, the Polish head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, also highlighted Trump’s actions.
“The tremendous efforts of election workers … ensured that voters could cast their votes despite legal and technical challenges and deliberate attempts by the incumbent president to weaken trust in the electoral process,” she said.
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Last month, former election observers and academics who study such monitors told BuzzFeed News that they suspected Trump’s behavior was raising concerns about US democracy.
“If America uses the same formula that we use overseas to see which countries are falling behind in their democracy, then we are falling behind quickly,” said an American who had previously monitored elections on three continents but asked not to be named to become because she didn’t. I don’t want to be seen speaking for your current employer.
In a 24-page statement with preliminary results, the OSCE teams also raised concerns about the disenfranchisement of voters.
But they seemed particularly shocked by the political rhetoric.
“The two leading presidential candidates accused each other of corruption, fraud, working for foreign interests, inability to lead and support for extremist groups,” they wrote. “The use of discriminatory and derogatory statements by the incumbent president against individuals based on their gender and origin was of particular concern.”
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Unlike Trump, who falsely tried to declare himself the winner in Tuesday’s elections even though the votes are still being counted in key states, OSCE observers insisted that they are staying in the US because, as Link said , “the count continues”.
“It is a fundamental obligation for all branches of government to ensure that every vote is counted,” he said.
“The count continues,” added Gacek, “and this election is not over yet.”