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'This is not over': Election observers criticise Trump's 'baseless accusations' and say it is 'vital' that every ballot is counted

A report drawn up by a group of international observers has found there were deliberate attempts by Trump to undermine the election process.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

A GROUP OF international observers has found that the US presidential election was “competitive and well managed” but condemned Donald Trump’s “baseless accusations” of systemic fraud saying they undermine public trust in democratic institutions. 

“Nobody – no politician, no elected official – should limit the people’s right to vote,” said Michael Georg Link, Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission.

“Coming after such a highly dynamic campaign, making sure that every vote is counted is a fundamental obligation for all branches of government,” he said. 

Trump, in the early hours of Wednesday as ballots were still being counted, declared “fraud” in the election with his teams since mounting a number of legal bids to stop counting in several states. 

Trump has a narrow path to a second term as it stands with Joe Biden currently carrying 264 electoral college votes against Trump’s 214. 

The OSCE sent 100 observers to more than 30 states to observe the presidential vote with the preliminary findings released late last night. This will be followed by a more comprehensive report early next year.

In its preliminary report, the OSCE described the early voting in the weeks leading up to the election as “competitive and well-managed” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But the report raised concerns about campaign finances, drawn-out lawsuits and “acrimonious campaign rhetoric”. 

The observers said the US media made efforts to provide accurate information on the organisation of elections, at times contrary to statements by candidates.

Observers also raised concerns regarding misinformation in the lead-up to the election.  

The report states: “Amidst growing public and legal scrutiny, major social media companies have adjusted policies and practices aimed to tackle disinformation, in particular in relation to elections, but concerns about the high level of disinformation spread via social networks remained.”  

Urszula Gacek, a former Polish diplomat who led the observers from the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, reserved the harshest criticism for incumbent President Trump who she said had attempted “to weaken confidence in the election process”. 

“The enormous effort made by election workers, supported by many engaged citizens, ensured that voters could cast their votes despite legal and technical challenges and deliberate attempts by the incumbent president to weaken confidence in the election process,” said Gacek.

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“But this election is not over, and we remain here in DC and in key states around the country until it is. It is vital that every properly cast ballot is properly counted.”

The report also found that negative campaigning by “most candidates was frequently exacerbated by the misrepresentation of facts, especially from the incumbent president, thereby detracting from the ability of voters to accurately appraise the candidate’s views and qualifications.”

Want to stay up to date with the latest from the US? Check out our liveblog where we’ll be keeping you informed throughout the day. 

 

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