US voting far from ideal – experts

AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown
American politicians keep criticizing other countries’ electoral systems but prefer not to see the serious drawbacks in their own, say Russian experts commenting on the US presidential vote.

The experts closely watched the neck-and-neck battle for the White House – both its outcome and the way the vote was organized in the “world’s greatest democracy.”

The Russians noted that there were some irregularities in the voting process.

“The polls have once again demonstrated that the US electoral system…in many aspect does not meet modern democratic standards,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich told journalists on Thursday.

In particular, the elections are not direct and many Americans were denied the right to vote. In addition, there is no single register of voters and no federal system of vote counting. Speaking about problems with international observers, Lukashevich mentioned Texas where OSCE’s monitors were banned from visiting polling stations.

Several Russian NGOs with the support of the country’s Central Election Commission conducted a remote monitoring of the poll. According to experts some basic international election principles – such as universal suffrage, equality, transparency and fairness – were often violated.

The US authorities did not stick to secret balloting principle to the full extent, as it cannot be provided when voters have their say through e-mail, fax, or casting a conditional ballot, the Russian experts explain in a report, cited by RIA Novosti.

American democracy has two faces: one is “for export”, another – for internal use, noted the head of Russian Public Institute of electoral Law Igor Borisov.

The US dictates “some abstract, made-up” demands to other countries. But when it comes to their own voting, they organize it the way they want, “violating almost all the international principles of democratic elections,” that their earlier signed, the analyst told the agency.

On Tuesday, Democrat Barack Obama was re-elected American President for another four years, having won 303 Electoral College votes to Republican rival Mitt Romney’s 206.