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ELECTION OBSERVATION

International observers set to arrive in US to assess elections

COPENHAGEN, 22 October 2012 – More than 100 parliamentarians from Europe and Central Asia will travel to the United States in the coming days to observe the November elections – the largest Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe parliamentary delegation to ever observe a North American election.

"We've been watching the debates and the competitive campaign up to this point, but look forward to observing the home stretch and election day activity next month," said Joao Soares (MP, Portugal) who has been appointed to lead the observation mission.

The United States is a founding member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a 56-country international organization focused on human rights and security that is the leading voice on election observation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earlier this year, the State Department invited all OSCE countries to observe the United States general elections. The OSCE's 1990 Copenhagen Document, to which all countries agreed, calls for all OSCE countries to welcome other members to observe their elections. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has observed elections in the United States in 2004, 2008 and 2010.

Observers from 30 countries have been monitoring campaign finance activity and legal changes related to early voting and whether voters must present identification at polling stations. Observers will receive a full set of political and election-related briefings in Washington prior to fanning out across several states to observe election day activity.

"We are not coming to judge a result but to report about the process," Soares said. "In a country so well known for its diverse citizenry, we will observe how inclusive the election process is in line with the country's own laws and international election commitments."

The OSCE Chair-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, Eamon Gilmore appointed Soares to serve as Special Co-ordinator to lead the election observation mission in the United States and deliver the post-election statement on behalf of the OSCE.

Soares will deliver the post-election statement on Thursday, November 8, at a public news conference. (Details forthcoming.)