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Election observers in Oklahoma to gauge mood of the electorate, media

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
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OKLAHOMA CITY – A week from tomorrow, millions of Americans will head to the polls and make their selection on who they want to be the next president.

And for the past 25 years, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) have sent election observers to more than 300 different elections in 56 countries that participate with the OSCE’s efforts, including the United States, where they have observerd elections in this country going back to 2002.

For those unfamiliar with the OSCE, they promote security, democracy, and human rights. This includes observing elections in participating countries that are committed to democratic elections, universality, equality, transparency, secret ballots, accountability, fairness, and the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

And while foreign election observers will be monitoring elections in many states, they will not be allowed to do so here in Oklahoma since only election officials and voters in and around the area where the voting takes place are allowed to be there, according to state law. Red Dirt Report believes this is a law that should be changed.

Texas is another state in our region where it is against the law for people who are not poll workers or voters to be present.

And while that is the case here, these internationally-recognized election observers are still coming here to get a sense of what members of the media and voters think in regards to the election process.

Two election observers – a female from France and a male from Switzerland – came by the office of Red Dirt Report to find out what we thought about the process.  We cannot use their names because they were not given permission by the OSCE to conduct interviews.

What they did tell me is that the organization makes a preliminary statement after the election and a detailed, final report is released approximately one month after the election by the OSCE.

This two-person team, who asked probing questions about voter registration, the participation of minorities and women, the involvement of political parties and other related issues, told me that they are here monitoring Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. While they cannot observe polling locations on Election Day (Nov. 8th), they may be able to do so in Arkansas, they explained.

Russia, which is not participating with the OSCE mission, has independently requested the opportunity to observe elections in Oklahoma and Texas, which of course was denied. Louisiana also denied Russia’s request. This comes at a time when, according to a CNN article, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has suggested that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”

Talking about our coverage of the 2016 election cycle, we explained how we have covered all presidential candidates who have come through Oklahoma, and have covered both the Iowa Caucuses and the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It was also explained to the two election observers that we also have taken an editorial stance against both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton and have demonstrated our interest in the third party option available here in Oklahoma - Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Our concern about the process and the two main candidates was also noted, as I recently wrote in my piece "Diagnosis: Terminal." 

Red Dirt Report will be covering the different candidates on Election Day and readers can expect full coverage right here. 

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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