The head of the OSCE’s election observer mission in the US tells DW that the organization is looking at voter registration and voter identity issues in some southern US states.
DW: You have had long-time observers in the US for some time now. What is your assessment of the election proceedings so far?
Dame Audrey Glover: We have been watching everything from the time we have been here which was the second of October and our mission opened on the fourth of October. Our long-term observers came one week later and we deployed them around the country. They have been looking at local electoral procedures, politicians, local election authorities, civil society and the media. Our media monitoring team are monitoring the media all day long so we are getting a full picture of the whole electoral process. And of course waiting for tomorrow.
Is there anything so far in the whole set-up of the elections that is noteworthy or interesting to you?
We are watching the election from the point of view of the voter. That’s our concern, the voter and the electoral process rather than the individuals. We really don’t mind who wins. And so things like voter registration and voter identity have been issues we have been looking at because we see the election from the voters’ point of view because we want to be sure that they can make a choice between the various candidates and that the candidates have a platform to produce their campaign. And then we want to make sure that they are able to vote, that they can be registered to vote and know where to go and that they can actually vote and be sure that the vote be kept safely and also be counted. So we are concerned with how the actual voter is doing.
And so how does it look right now?
As I said we are looking in some areas at voter registration and voter identity issues.
In what areas of the US?
In certain parts of the country like North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, we have been looking at those areas. But as I said we are looking at the whole electoral process, we are not just concentrating on those particular areas. We are looking at everywhere and just seeing at what is going on.
What you have seen in those states has that given you pause or concern?
We are taking this into account along with everything else that we are looking at.
You mentioned that you have a media monitoring contingent which is timely because as you know the media and its conduct has been a big part of this campaign. Especially Donald Trump has complained that he has been treated unfairly by the media. What is your analysis so far of the conduct of the media here?
You have a very wide spread of media and so there is a lot for the individual to actually look at and to chose from. Everyone can look at these different media outlets and take what information they want and decide whichever way they wish to do so. So obviously individuals are going to make statements and claims and allegations, but we regard them as allegations until there is any proof given for what they are saying. So this is part of the whole scene. It is certainly a very vibrant media that is for sure and there is no lack of it.
Another important issue in this campaign has been Donald Trump’s repeated claims made long before early voting started that the process is rigged. Did you find any merit in these claims so far?
During the course of an election process one hears all kinds of allegations. We hear them, but as long as they are allegations and there is no proof we just treat them as allegations. We deal in fact and so we would need proof.
So you couldn’t verify any of these allegations?
We wouldn’t even begin to try, because it’s not for us, it’s for the authorities in this country to deal with them. And what we are looking at is how the authorities here deal with these allegations. It is not for us, we are observers, we’re not policemen.
Dame Audrey Glover heads the OSCE’s election observer mission in the US.
The interview was conducted by Michael Knigge in Washington.