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Advancing Transparency, Building Trust

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Public trust in the electoral process is critical to ensuring participation and acceptance of election results. This is especially important when elections take place in challenging circumstances – such as a global pandemic – and when there are high levels of political polarization. From our experience observing over 110 elections in 39 countries, we know that public information and transparency – the ability of citizens to "see into" and understand the legal and administrative mechanics of the election – are key to bolstering trust in the process.

In 2020, The Carter Center is working to support elections at home by providing objective information and analysis about the election process and advancing good practices in transparency. The Center is also working to mitigate possible violence in cities in the days surrounding the election by partnering with grassroots organizations to offer conflict prevention training and disseminate messages supporting a peaceful electoral transition.


As our election system works to count every vote, it’s up to us to honor our country’s process and help others understand that accuracy takes time. Watch our video to learn more.

Watch the previous video in this series: Be Heard. Make History. Vote. »


Ensuring Voter Access while Protecting Election Integrity
This report addresses the two main goals of election administration and reform—ensuring election integrity and facilitating voter access—and concludes that these goals are not mutually exclusive and should be pursued in tandem, following recognized international election principles and standards.

Principles for Transparency and Accountability in Post-Election Audits
Audits can be effective tools to help ensure that elections were carried out properly and results are accurate. But only if audit procedures are clearly spelled out and followed—and only if audits are conducted in a transparent manner. Learn more about the principles that guide audit procedures.

Ask An Expert: Kevin Johnson on How Congress Polices Itself
Recent news has brought attention to the question of how Congress disciplines their members. U.S. election expert Kevin Johnson dives into this issue and the related topic of the little-known role that the House and Senate can play in deciding election winners.

Ask an Expert: Kevin Johnson on Runoffs
Did you know Georgia is one of only two U.S. states that hold runoffs for general elections? U.S. election expert Kevin Johnson breaks down the arguments for and against runoffs and takes a closer look at one alternative: ranked-choice voting.

Journey of a Georgia Absentee Ballot
Between the time a voter requests an absentee ballot and the time it’s processed, it goes through at least six steps. Along the way there are a number of verification checks and safeguards to help protect the secrecy of the ballot and ensure that only eligible citizens vote – and vote only once. Learn more in this infographic.

Georgia Runoffs Voters Guide
Georgia still has two more runoff election days – one on Dec. 1 and one on Jan. 5 – so our expert Lia Merivaki breaks down what Georgia voters need to know and do to be #VoteReady in the next month.

Ask an Expert: Jessie Pilgrim on Georgia Recounts
With the state of Georgia set to begin a recount of the Nov. 3 election, lawyer and election expert Jessie Pilgrim takes a look at the rules and regulation governing recounts in the state. Learn more about the four kinds of recounts in Georgia, the procedures for the kind that Georgia is now doing, and what options are still available to losing candidates if a recount confirms their loss.

Ask An Expert: Kevin Johnson on Postelection Audits
What’s the difference between a postelection audit, a canvass, a recount, and contesting election results? What are postelection audits designed to do? How, generally, do they work? A member of the Carter Center’s U.S. Election Expert Study Team has answers to all these questions and more.

Ask An Expert: Lia Merivaki on Provisional Ballots
Just what are provisional ballots? When do voters have to cast them? How do you know if your provisional ballot has been counted? Get the answers to these questions and more in this Q&A with one of the Carter Center’s U.S. Election Expert Study Team.

More resources available here »


Upcoming Events
Join a virtual event to learn more about the election process and some of the most pressing issues surrounding the 2020 U.S. election. View events

Interested in being an election observer or poll watcher?

  • Election Protection
    Election Protection is a group led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law. It is a nonpartisan coalition to protect voters, ensuring that eligible voters are able to participate in our democracy. It has a nonpartisan poll monitoring program with remote and in-person opportunities.
  • Political Parties
    Contact the state political party of your choice to find out about opportunities to serve as a partisan poll watcher or challenger.
  • Paid Poll Worker
    Also, consider contacting your county’s board of elections to sign up for a paid poll worker position. The average poll worker typically falls in the high-risk age group for COVID-19, and so many polling stations may be short-staffed.

The Center is a proud supporter of the National Association of Secretaries of State #TrustedInfo2020 campaign and the Georgia Support the Vote Campaign.

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