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Critics of the American Electoral System

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The United States presidential election of 2012 took place on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The U.S. Constitution says about eligibility and offers a framework of active suffrage with some constitutional amendments. Many regulations on elections are determined by state law. But despite this, the U.S. the electoral system of 2012 has some problems.

The election process has a characteristic of many significant deficiencies that affect the outcome. These deficiencies often distort the realities of the political forces in the country.


To my mind, the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights were right. I think that as a result of the voters’ rights the election procedure varies from state to state. Also, I agree with the English scientist W. Storey that the U.S. population has more opportunities to participate in various elections rather than citizens of other countries. There are a number of factors that hinder the implementation of these rights.

As it is recognized by international observers that worked in the U.S., the international obligations do not fully comply with democratic norms and international election standards. First of all, they point to the shortcomings of the process of voter registration. The second is the absence of legislation as to the status of an international observer. The third is the concerns towards the implementation of electoral rights and freedoms of the individual categories of voters.

It should be added that the Minister of Justice E. Holder acknowledged that voting rights in the United States are still in need of protection. I agree that across the country there are both open and subtle forms of discrimination.

Another significant disadvantage of the American electoral system is simplified procedure of identification during registration of the voters. To my mind, this was one of the cons of the electoral system.

The country lacks a unified approach to the issue of confirmation of identity at the polling station. Many ethnic minorities, older and young people do not have such licenses.

The requirement of any official document with a photo is in a sharp discussion. Republicans insist on it, while the Democrats are staunchly opposed to it. In March 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama has vetoed a Texas law requiring persons from voting photo ID.

American experts noted that there are various manipulations of data, including the results of the federal census. The authorities of some states redraw the map of electoral districts.

The disadvantage of the American electoral system is the lack of a central authority during the election process. The states authorities and other entities are engaged in the organization of the voting process. At the federal level, the Federal Election Commission and the Election Assistance Commission are engaged in the organization of the voting process, too. Existing Federal Election Commission has been monitoring the implementation of a federal election laws. Election Assistance Commission is an advisory body that monitors the implementation of the federal election laws. They allocate the funds of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). It includes the technical modernization of the electoral process.

In my opinion, it is good experience to involve the international observers to the election process. In the U.S., the international observers are regularly invited to elections for federal office. However, their admission to the polls is regulated by the state law and it is not always guaranteed.

The international observers were able to attend the voting and vote counting process. It was in the force of law, and not for the discretion of local election officials or the polling station heads.


To summarize, according to many international legal experts, the U.S. electoral system is a complex and decentralized.

It has a characteristic of many significant deficiencies that affect the outcome. These deficiencies often distort the realities of the political forces in the country.

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