WASHINGTON (AN) — International election observers from the Organization of American States reported on Friday they witnessed no fraud or voting irregularities among U.S. ballots cast for the November 3 general election.
Initial findings from the Washington-based OAS, which was founded in 1948 and now includes 35 member nations, contravene President Donald Trump's unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud or foul play.
"While the OAS mission has not directly observed any serious irregularities that call into question the results so far, it supports the right of all contesting parties in an election to seek redress before the competent legal authorities when they believe they have been wronged," the organization said in a 20-page preliminary report.
"It is critical however, that candidates act responsibly by presenting and arguing legitimate claims before the courts, not unsubstantiated or harmful speculation in the public media," it said.
The delegation, led by OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, a Uruguayan lawyer and diplomat, included 28 experts and observers from 13 nations.
It observed the election process in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan. OAS wanted to observe more states, but the COVID-19 pandemic hurt its recruitment of observers and not all 14 states gave OAS permission to deploy.
"Some states do not allow or lack specific provisions for international observation of their electoral processes," it noted. "The OAS would welcome consideration by these states of the benefits of receiving international observers and steps to reflect this in their local legislation."
On Wednesday, international election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe praised the elections as competitive and well-managed. But as with OAS, the OSCE's teams concluded that Trump’s false claims of victory and calls to halt vote-counting were eroding trust in American democracy.
“Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions,” OSCE said in a 24-page report.
Both OAS and OSCE were referring to Trump wrongly declaring himself the winner of the election from inside the White House early on Wednesday. He falsely told about 150 campaign supporters that he had won several states that were still counting ballots.
Neither he nor his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, had yet secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. Despite that, Trump claimed a “major fraud in our nation” was occurring because the vote-counting continued.