November 5, 2020; Associated Press
Attempts from the White House, even up until last night, to paint the US electoral process as fraud-ridden are, as a wide array of observers attest, not only baseless but a dangerous abrogation of the sitting president’s responsibility to support democratic institutions. International observers say the process appears uninfected by instances of fraud but is endangered at this point most obviously by baseless assaults on its integrity from the sitting incumbent.
Meanwhile, media outlets have finally given up their position of airing obviously false information simply because it comes from the White House, refusing to air the president’s most recent allegations of conspiracies and demands to stop the vote counting.
CNN, anchor Jake Tapper said, “What a sad night for the United States of America, to hear their president say that. To falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election. To try to attack democracy that way with this feast of falsehoods. Lie, after lie, after lie, about the election being stolen. No evidence for what he’s saying. Just smears about the integrity of vote-counting, in state after state…it’s frankly pathetic.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt told audience members, “We have to interrupt here because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting. There has been no evidence of that. Allegations by his campaign, but his campaign spokespeople unable to provide any evidence. He also has suggested that the polls and many of which were incorrect were somehow the product of election interference.”
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Earlier, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the election, has released a preliminary statement on its US Observation Mission that reiterates this point.
The November 3rd general elections were competitive and well managed despite legal uncertainties and logistical challenges. In a highly polarized political environment, acrimonious campaign rhetoric fueled tensions. Measures intended to secure the elections during the pandemic triggered protracted litigation driven by partisan interests. Uncertainty caused by late legal challenges and evidence-deficient claims about election fraud created confusion and concern among election officials and voters. Voter registration and identification rules in some states are unduly restrictive for certain groups of citizens. The media, although sharply polarized, provided comprehensive coverage of the campaign and made efforts to provide accurate information on the organization of elections. Arrangements put in place by the election administrators, including for early and postal voting, together with committed civic engagement, allowed for high voter participation despite challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. Counting and tabulation is ongoing and should continue in accordance with the law and OSCE commitments. Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions.
Specifically, the independent body agrees that in the case of the much-expanded mail-in ballot initiative, there were some errors made, “but no systemic interference or even manipulation with the postal ballots whatsoever.”
But, in this case, even fellow Republican lawmakers have been appealing to the incumbent to end his baseless charges that conspiracies were afoot to “steal” the election from him. Retiring Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd called the rhetoric dangerous.
“A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon,” he wrote on Twitter. “Every American should have his or her vote counted.”
Yesterday, the Trump Campaign’s lawsuits alleging improprieties in the voting processes in Michigan and Georgia were dismissed by the respective judges sitting on those cases.—Ruth McCambridge