SANTIAGO, Chile — Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people have lost confidence in elections and politicians. And just as voters are questioning the democratic process, the traditional watchdogs of electoral integrity — multilateral groups like the United Nations and the Organization of American States and others — are being undermined by governments throughout the hemisphere on both sides of the ideological spectrum.
The twin pressures of declining trust in elections and support for those who guarantee voting integrity create a problem: Who is left to credibly judge what may be controversial elections in the coming months in two of the region’s biggest countries, Mexico and Brazil?
Over the past 30 years, election observer groups have helped establish internationally respected standards for free and fair elections, protected voters’ rights in those elections and defused political upheaval when sore losers have tried to steal elections or contested results. This happened in the Dominican Republic in 1994, Peru in 2000, Mexico in 2006 and Ecuadorin 2017.
The power of neutral observers to defend free elections rests on a commitment from a government holding an election to the idea that these organizations have the right and authority to determine whether the voting was fair. That commitment is under assault.
To read more, please visit the New York Times.