International Observers Give 2008 Election a Passing Grade

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which monitors election across the globe, has given the 2008 U.S. presidential a passing grade while highlighting some well-known problems with American elections.

The organization's report notes that there is no single federal agency in charge of U.S. elections, but instead a patchwork quilt of uneven state laws. The agency said that U.S. campaign finance laws that seek to limit the influence of political money were not effective. It said there were numerous conflicts of interest where officials overseeing state elections were affiliated with political parties or running for office themselves. It said that the secrecy of the ballots was not always maintained with early voting and voting by mail. It said there were "minor" technical problems associated with voting machines but they were not widespread enough to undermine the process.

It noted how many states had differing voter registration, voter list maintenance and voter ID standards. It noted how allegations of voter fraud were raised before Election Day, saying the truth of those claims were assessed by judges in state and federal courts. It noted that many states experienced voters waiting in long lines. It said there were 22 independent and third-party candidates who ran in more than one state.

The international team sent representatives to 26 states and Washington, DC. States whose laws do not allow international observers were: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas. Observers had problems watching in Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

To read the report, click here.


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