On 4 April, the United States of America invited the participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to observe the elections for U.S. Presidency, one-third of the members of the U.S. Senate, and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as many state and local officials, scheduled for November 4, 2008. As part of its invitation, the United States invited ODIHR to conduct a needs assessment mission in preparation for a possible observation mission.
The United States issued its invitation seven months ahead of the election to allow ODIHR and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly sufficient time to plan and implement an effective observation mission. United States Ambassador to the OSCE, Julie Finley, said in Vienna on April 3, “We consider this invitation an opportunity to demonstrate, once again, the United States’ dedication to fulfilling its OSCE commitments.”
ODIHR and the Parliamentary Assembly have extensive experience in observing elections. In the last decade, it has observed around 150 election processes, deploying thousands of experts and observers from the entire OSCE region. The U.S. has consistently fulfilled its OSCE commitments to invite international observers to its elections, having invited the OSCE in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, the Ambassador said.