“Free and Fair Elections are the Foundation of Every Healthy Democracy,” Ambassador Gilmore says at NASED Conference

Austin, Tx. Photo: NASED

“Free and Fair Elections are the Foundation of Every Healthy Democracy,” Ambassador Gilmore says at NASED Conference in Austin, Texas

PRESS RELEASE | July 17, 2019

“Free and fair elections are the foundation of every healthy democracy, ensuring that government authority derives from the will of the people,” U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and former governor of Virginia James S. Gilmore III explained during the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) Summer 2019 Conference in Austin, Texas. Gilmore further asserted that election observation is one of the best, most transparent ways to promote democracy and to hold countries to account when they fail to hold free and fair elections, and that the OSCE monitors provided the gold standard in this regard. 

On July 16, Ambassador James Gilmore met with the National Association of State Election Directors to discuss election observation missions conducted by the OSCE. Ambassador Gilmore thanked NASED members for participating in OSCE election observation missions overseas and for welcoming observers to the United States for previous U.S. elections. 

The United States has a long history of supporting election observation missions of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). ODIHR’s election observation methodology is considered the gold standard among regional organizations, governments, civil society, and the public. Together with observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, ODIHR election observation missions serve as our “eyes and ears” on the ground. They shine a light on the electoral process and recommend how countries can improve their electoral systems to make governments more responsive to their citizens. 

Over the past decade, the United States has sent about 2,500 Americans to participate in more than 85 OSCE election observation missions. The United States has hosted more than 850 OSCE observers for U.S. elections since 2002. 

The National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) is the only professional organization for state election directors. NASED promotes accessible, accurate, and transparent elections in the United States and U.S. territories. NASED is a nonpartisan professional organization whose members are election directors from across the country. In each of their states, they are responsible for implementing election laws and policies, maintaining the voter registration databases, working with local election officials to ensure a successful voting experience for all voters, and more. NASED members are at the forefront of the national conversations about cybersecurity, data standards for system interoperability, and civic engagement, working with federal, state, and local officials, as well as advocates and think tanks to build an election system that is secure and accessible to all. Twice a year, NASED members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. 

James S. Gilmore III, Permanent Representative of the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was sworn in as Ambassador on June 25, 2019. He was Virginia’s 68th Governor from 1998-2002. With his appointment of a former Governor, President Trump demonstrates the strong U.S. commitment to strategic multilateral engagement as well as peace and security throughout Europe and Eurasia. Ambassador Gilmore has dedicated much of his career to public service, serving in the U.S. Army, as a county prosecutor, and as Virginia’s Attorney General before his election as governor. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia.


For further information please contact:

U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Elaine A. Paplos, Counselor for Public Affairs

Email: PaplosEA[at]state.gov