Carter Center Launches Initiative to Strengthen Transparency and Trust in U.S. Elections

ATLANTA (Aug. 28, 2020) — Recognizing the scale of the challenges facing democratic elections in the U.S., The Carter Center plans to conduct several election-related activities before and after the November election to help build confidence in the process and results. 

The Center will work to increase public knowledge of key election issues and processes and encourage electoral transparency throughout all stages of the process, with access for partisan and nonpartisan civic observers.

The Carter Center has observed more than 110 elections in 39 countries. Since its first observation mission in 1989, the Center’s election work has focused internationally, prioritizing countries that are either beginning a democratic transition or at risk of backsliding, which is often characterized by polarization, a lack of public trust, ethnic or racial divisions and injustice, and fears that election results won’t be seen as credible or could trigger violence. 

Although the U.S. has long fallen short of international election standards in several key areas, until the last 10 years or so, the Center would not have assessed the quality of U.S. democracy and elections as backsliding. 

“However,” said Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander, “given the scale of problems today – including deep polarization, lack of confidence in elections, obstacles to participation by minority groups and others, persistent racial injustice, and the COVID-19 pandemic – the Center has decided that it should try to improve elections here at home, drawing on its global experience observing troubled elections and its knowledge of international standards.”

The Carter Center plans to conduct activities in two main areas:  

-Providing public information on important issues of election administration, especially where problems are likely or where there is a lack of information and awareness.

-Encouraging election officials to ensure maximum transparency and access for partisan and nonpartisan civic observers throughout the election process.

Depending on developments, the Center also might explore some limited election observation activities, perhaps targeting key issues or a few states. Wherever possible, the Center hopes to work alongside bipartisan and nonpartisan efforts to support these goals.

Beyond 2020, The Carter Center hopes to help advance voting rights and other needed reforms, such as steps to ensure independent nonpartisan election administration and redistricting, transparency in campaign finance, expanded digital literacy, and reforms to the electoral college. 


Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.