Carter Center Launches Webpage on Election Observation in the United States

Contact: Soyia Ellison,

ATLANTA — The Carter Center, with partners at the National Conference of State Legislatures, today launched a webpage on election observation in the United States. The page houses research that examines access and current regulations for election observers in each of the 50 states, including a state-by-state breakdown of access and accreditation for different types of observers.

The findings show that while observation by representatives of political parties and candidates is almost invariably permitted, several states have no statutory provisions for observation by international or domestic nonpartisan organizations. That does not necessarily mean that nonpartisan observers can’t observe elections, but it often leaves granting access to the discretion of county officials.

The Carter Center has observed 102 elections in 39 countries, but has no plans to observe U.S. elections.

“The Carter Center focuses its election observation work internationally, with the goal of ensuring transparency and building confidence in credible elections. As in elections around the world, transparency is also necessary in U.S. elections,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “Credible election observation is a key way to ensure that citizens can understand and be included in supporting good electoral processes in the United States.”

The 2005 Carter-Baker Commission, which President Carter co-chaired, noted that the highly decentralized nature of American election administration complicates possibilities for credible and comprehensive observation.

The new webpage makes information about election observation in the U.S. more accessible and asks what impact credible election observation could have on U.S. elections and, more broadly, on American democracy.


"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.

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