Center Prepares for 2024 U.S. Election

  • Connie Moon Sehat monitors election

    In November 2022, Carter Center observer Connie Moon Sehat (in purple) monitors a polling station in Fulton County, Georgia. The Center will again bring its expertise to the November 2024 U.S. election.

The Carter Center has a hard-earned reputation as a fair, impartial observer of elections overseas. It brought its electoral expertise to a U.S. election for the first time by observing Georgia’s post-election risk-limiting audit in 2020, and its domestic focus has grown ever since.

“The environment in the United States has changed in ways that have prompted us to expand our programming,” said Barbara Smith, the Carter Center’s vice president of peace programs. “We believe we can help forge a better path for American democracy than what we’ve seen in recent years.”

The Center’s work emphasizes strengthening trust in the U.S. election system and encouraging citizens to address disagreements in a civil manner.

  • Woman at a voting booth

    A Georgia voter marks her ballot in November 2022. The Carter Center is working to give U.S. voters confidence in the electoral system for this November.

“For too many Americans, the hallmarks of U.S. politics today are polarization, misinformation, disinformation, and distrust of election systems,” said David Carroll, director of the Center’s Democracy Program. “One way we hope to help is by demystifying the electoral process and highlighting its safeguards.”

While not taking political positions itself, the Center for the past three years has been recruiting right-leaning and left-leaning leaders in six swing states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — to bring all kinds of Americans together for civil, fact-based discussions about issues.

“Why did people riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021? Because they thought they were being disenfranchised,” said Nathan Stock, Conflict Resolution Program associate director. “So what do you do about that? One step is to get trusted messengers to pass on better information about the nature of American elections.”

The goal is to correct misinformation, search for common ground, and reduce fear of our fellow Americans.

“We want people on opposite sides to acknowledge one another as human beings,” Stock said. “They probably won’t ever agree on the Second Amendment or abortion rights, but they can agree that protecting the functioning of our democratic republic is important.”

The Carter Center recognizes the role that faith communities can play in the effort. It is building a network of religious leaders to work with their congregations to promote healthy conversations and tamp down dehumanizing language.

The Center’s work has a legal angle as well, partnering with law schools and legal associations to provide lawyers in Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin with election-specific knowledge and skills. The effort aims to create a cadre of “citizen lawyers” who can speak knowledgeably and persuasively about election processes in a way that helps restore public confidence in our elections’ integrity and results, said Randolph Kent, associate director of the Center’s Rule of Law Program.

On the front lines of that system are election workers, who have been subjected to threats and harassment in recent years. Recognizing the stress of the role, the Center has published a mental health wellness guide just for them.

As it always has, The Carter Center supports a set of widely accepted international election standards. These include ensuring that all citizens have an equal opportunity to exercise their voting rights. To that end, the Center backs efforts to ensure that voters with disabilities can access polling places, and to secure voting rights for Native Americans and people returning from incarceration.

The Carter Center also is working to demonstrate the important role that nonpartisan election observers can play in several U.S. states, with plans to support state-based actors in Montana, New Mexico, and California. The Center will provide guidelines and instruction to local organizations working to observe elections in these states.

“We hope that these nonpartisan groups will provide well-documented public reports and actionable feedback and recommendations on how to improve electoral processes,” Carroll said.

Related Resources

Carter Center Democracy Program

United States Elections

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