The Carter Center—founded by the oldest living former U.S. president (and national treasure) Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn in 1982—has observed elections in 39 countries since 1989. In 2020, the United States became country #40, after Donald Trump (and his mouthpieces) spent the summer carefully layering manufactured doubts about the election ahead of an expected landslide.
The center made headlines after an August announcement of a public information campaign to help build an informed electorate, even as right-wing leaders and candidates sought to sow doubt that would serve their self-interests, and that of Donald Trump. Yet what the center is doing now is something quite different: It’s sending observers, with the accreditation of the State of Georgia, to monitor the ballot audit ordered by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger.
“The nonprofit said Friday morning that Carter Center monitors will go to a number of counties across the state to assess the post-election audit and related processes to help bolster transparency and confidence in the results,” writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The hyperspeed audit, often referred to as a “hand recount,” must be completed by Wednesday.
Even as groups of shouty Trump supporters descend on the nation’s capital for a superspreader “March for Trump” on Saturday, in support of their orange messiah and in denial of his undeniable loss to President-elect Joe Biden, the center’s monitors have been “deployed to several county audit boards across the state to conduct oversight the center said would increase “’ransparency’ in the vote counting process,” according to The Hill.
The center is known for supporting emerging democracies, or nations where established democracy and elections are at risk. It’s disturbing that the United States now qualifies as one of the latter, a first in the 31 years the Carter Center has done this very important work.
“We were frankly quite troubled by the lack of trust and doubts about that the process would be credible and the results would be accepted,” David Carroll, the director of the Center’s Democracy Program, told Fox 5 Atlanta. “It is an indication of how difficult it has become in this country to have elections that enjoy popular trust and credibility,” Carroll added.
Carroll, of course, didn’t say the quiet part out loud: Popular trust in U.S. elections has deteriorated at the hands of the current White House occupant, who spent the final six months or so of his campaign railing against socially distant voting methods, including blatant attempts to hobble the national postal service to derail voting by mail, which he repeatedly and dishonestly insisted was ripe for widespread fraud. Since losing the Nov. 3 election to Biden, Trump, who Biden defeated in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, has mostly avoided the public eye while his subpar legal team attempts to procure a different result through a string of nuisance nonsense lawsuits.
On Friday, the winner in the remaining close state contests finally was called. Georgia, home of the audit, went blue for the first time since Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.
The Washington Post has a great visual history of the Peach State’s journey from red to blue on the presidential front, even as both Senate seats are subject to an already-intense runoff battle that will decide the party majority in the chamber.