Washington, Oct 1 (EFE).- The United States has invited the Organization of American States to observe its presidential election for the first time, finally taking that step after financing electoral observation missions in Latin America for more than a half-century.
The OAS regards this historic step as a very positive sign and believes the best way to consolidate democracy in the region is to lead by example, Francisco Guerrero, the organization’s secretary for strengthening democracy, told EFE Saturday.
During the OAS’ 54-year history of electoral observation missions, the United States has played a central role in financing but never had allowed that organization to observe its own balloting processes.
The decision sets a precedent that will lend more legitimacy to the United States’ efforts to encourage other regional governments to welcome OAS electoral observation missions, the president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank, Michael Shifter, told EFE.
The United States has allowed electoral observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and will do so again this year.
OSCE members, including the United States, must automatically consent to electoral observation missions, while OAS member states decide whether or not to invite the organization to supervise their elections.
Asked about the reasons for opening to door to the OAS at this time, the State Department told EFE the observation mission was an opportunity to show the United States’ dedication and support for that important function of the hemispheric body.
Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said he fears balloting in key swing states such as Pennsylvania could be marred by fraud on Nov. 8 and has expressed particular concern about electronic voting machines.
The OAS observer mission will analyze, among other things, voting methods, voter registration, campaign financing, the inclusion of minorities, gender equality and the role of the media.