Carter Center Launches Project on the Benefits of Evidence-Based Observation of U.S. Elections

As The Carter Center marks 10 years as an original endorser of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, its Democracy Program has launched a new project aimed at supporting those working to improve the quality of elections in the United States.

The Center and partner organizations will raise awareness of the important contributions that objective, data-driven election observation can make to election reform. The Carter Center will partner with the National Conference of State Legislatures to build a clearinghouse of information on U.S. election observation and to provide tools and resources derived from the Center’s extensive international election observation experience. The partners will reach out to state election authorities, state legislators, and others about election observation in the United States in an effort to raise awareness of the important benefits that observation can bring to electoral processes and voter experience.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded $250,000 in support of these efforts.

The Carter Center has observed 100 elections in 38 countries around the world using a methodology and tools based on international and regional laws and standards. In addition, it has played a leading role in building consensus on standards for democratic elections based on state obligations under public international law.

In 2005, the Center, in cooperation with the U.N. Electoral Assistance Division and the National Democratic Institute, led efforts to develop the Declaration of Principles for International Observation, which established professional guidelines for international election observation. In 2010, the Center launched the Election Obligations and Standards Database, which consolidates more than 150 sources of international law related to human rights and elections. It is used by The Carter Center and other election observers to provide a basis to assess elections against international and regional laws and standards. The Center is also one of nine organizations that manage the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. ACE is an online community and knowledge repository that provides comprehensive information and customized advice on electoral processes to electoral management bodies, political parties, civil society organizations, and researchers.
About the Partners:

The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths, and territories. It provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system. More information can be found at

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is available at