Joint statement

Bipartisan Group of International Democracy Experts Calls on U.S. Leaders to Respond to Crisis by Reaffirming Commitment to Fair & Inclusive Elections

To maintain our global influence, US political leaders must unhesitatingly affirm our longstanding democratic principles.

Fifty leading members of the international democracy promotion community released an open letter today urging political leaders to reaffirm the country’s core democratic principles, and ensure that elections in 2020 take place in a fair, secure, and inclusive manner.

Signers include former Republican and Democratic members of Congress, senior diplomats who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, a former governor, and current and former leaders of major democracy support organizations.   

Based on personal experience “working to strengthen democracy and human rights overseas,” signatories urge that the U.S. “live up to the great heritage that has helped the United States inspire freedom-loving people around the world.”

The letter was initiated by Election Reformers Network, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization bringing global election expertise to election reform in the U.S.

“Autocratic regimes would like nothing more than to see the United States experience setbacks in our election," said David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor during the administration of George W. Bush, and a former president of Freedom House.  "We owe it to ourselves as well as to those around the world struggling for freedom and human rights to show that not even a pandemic can keep us from exercising our democratic rights to elect our leaders through a free and fair process.”

Brian Atwood, former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and former President of the National Democratic Institute, said, “I have observed with pride how emerging democracies across the globe look to the United States as a model. To maintain our global influence, US political leaders must unhesitatingly affirm our longstanding democratic principles and demonstrate in practice the value of a functioning democracy in overcoming even the most formidable crisis.”

The letter calls for the 2020 elections to take place in a “transparent, secure, and fair manner,” that enables “participation by all citizens,” and that does not “require a choice between protecting health and exercising the franchise.” 

Signers further urge that American political leaders “promote truthfulness and combat disinformation, dishonesty, and rhetoric that undermines confidence in our democratic processes and our elections.”

Download the letter here.