The strength of U.S. democracy goes beyond the particularities of an electoral process, said the Organization of American States, OAS, Electoral Observation Mission to the recent general elections in the United States in the presentation of its final report to the Permanent Council. However it also underlined that the campaign financing is the most deregulated in forty years.
The Chief of Mission and former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, said in her presentation that the strength of U.S. democracy goes beyond the particularities of an electoral process. It is based on its strong institutions, freedom of expression and press, balance of power, the rule of law and the principles on which the country was founded.”
The report details recommendations on issues such as electoral organization, the use of technology in elections, political participation, financing, and media coverage, with the objective of identifying both strengths and opportunities for improvement in the U.S. electoral system.
The document points out that the United States campaign finance regime is the most deregulated it has been in 40 years. “In this context, the EOM observed that the role of outside spending in elections, particularly super PACs, has increased dramatically since the deregulation mandated in 2010.”
Regarding women's political participation, the Chief of Mission noted that “equal representation of women and men in elected office remains a significant challenge for the country. With a total of 104 women set to serve in the new Congress no progress was made in this election regarding the number of women in Congress compared to the previous one.
On the issue of media, the report notes concern over “a rise in polarizing and divisive rhetoric during the campaign that singled out certain groups in a negative context.” Furthermore, it highlights that “threats to take judicial action against journalists for expressing their views and restricting their access to cover events were worrisome.”
The Interim Representative of the United States to the OAS, Kevin Sullivan, said his country greatly values the OAS´ important work in promoting free and fair elections through the Americas and, as a signatory member state of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, we believe it was important to welcome the OAS to observe our elections and demonstrate our support for this important function.
Regarding the report, the U.S. representative noted that he hopes to share it with our counterparts at the federal, state and local level of government.
Our authorities might agree or disagree with the individual recommendations and conclusions from the report, but there is no doubt that the EOM report will enrich our political debate as well as the technical discussions around this important topics,” he added.
The EOM, consisting of 41 experts and observers from 18 countries, was deployed one week before election day and was present on voting day in the states of California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska , New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as in the District of Columbia.