For the first time, an organization that has historically monitored politically unstable democracies will observe the U.S. presidential election this November.
The Organization of American States (OAS), which has spent the past 50 years monitoring the elections in Latin America and Caribbean nations, will monitor the election in up to 15 pivotal states, including the battlegrounds of Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania, the Miami Herald reports.
While the U.S. government had requested that OAS deploy observers for the election as early as June 30, the watchdog’s involvement will occur during a political season when one presidential candidate has been crying foul.
For the past few weeks, GOP nominee Donald Trump has asserted that the November election will be rigged against him. The business mogul has been urging his supporters to monitor polling places to detect voter fraud.
A study conducted by Loyola Law School found that there were only 31 known cases of voter impersonation fraud between 2000 and 2014. For Trump’s accusations to be founded, there would have to be a unique conspiracy in this election cycle.
Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla will be heading the OAS monitoring of the U.S. election.
Chinchilla is skeptical that any political party can steal the U.S. election “because the country has a hyper-diversified electoral system, in which each state counts its own votes, and there are no unified databases that could facilitate a nationwide conspiracy.”
Trump’s accusations of election rigging grew in intensity after a 2005 audiotape of him bragging about kissing and groping women without consent surfaced. Since then, the business mogul has been falling behind in the polls.
Aggregating the last 13 national polls released since Oct. 13, Real Clear Politics found that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Trump in a four-way race by an average of 6 percentage points.
On Oct. 19, Trump said that he would not commit to accepting the results of the presidential election.
“What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time,” the GOP nominee said during the third and final presidential debate, according to The Washington Post. “I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?”
Clinton pushed back, asserting that Trump had a pattern of deeming processes rigged whenever they did not go his way.
“He lost the Iowa caucus,” Clinton said. “He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. ... There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.”
On Oct. 20, Trump told his supporters during an Ohio rally that he would indeed accept the results of the presidential election, but only if he wins.
“I will totally accept the results of this great and historical presidential election — if I win,” Trump said, according to The New York Times.