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Threats to the US Midterm Elections Have Been Building for Years

Freedom HouseThe festering problems that erupted after the last presidential election are still unresolved. “As the United States heads toward midterm elections on November 8, the political environment remains haunted by the coup attempt that culminated in a violent attack on the Capitol in January 2021. Social and mainstream media are overrun with narratives that preemptively cast doubt on the integrity of this year’s balloting by repeating false claims of a “stolen” 2020 election. While the courts found no credible evidence of large-scale fraud two years ago, the persistent claims have contributed to a trend in which state- and local-level election administration has grown more politicized, election officials face worsening harassment and intimidation, and some state legislatures have attempted to make voting more difficult in the name of electoral security. But the problems threatening US elections did not begin in 2020. They are part of a much older pattern of deterioration in America’s democratic institutions that must be addressed if the country is to meaningfully advance the cause of global freedom.

Through our flagship Freedom in the World publication, Freedom House has documented a significant decline in political rights and civil liberties in the United States over the past decade. In 2010, the country’s total score stood at 94 on the report’s 100-point scale, on par with other established democracies like France and Germany. In 2022, the United States still has an overall status of Free, but its total score has fallen to 83, placing it with less robust democracies like Panama and Romania…”

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