Georgians fought for their freedom, just like Americans did. This shared love of freedom and democracy is at the heart of our strategic partnership with Georgia. The freedom to choose your leaders through fair elections is fundamental to a true democracy. So what has the United States done to help Georgia conduct free and fair elections at this challenging time? To answer this question, we have compiled information about the broad range of our assistance including safety preparedness for COVID-19 and possible cyber-attacks.
- The United States, through USAID and the Department of State, supported Parliament in an ambitious participatory reform of the electoral code that brought together political parties, civil society, and international stakeholders.
- The United States, through USAID, has helped parties develop political platforms, programs, and messages that respond to the needs of citizens. That includes helping fund the Election Compass, a tool that helps voters better understand how their priorities align with the policies and programs of political parties, and impartial public opinion polling that informs the public and the parties.
Support to the Central Election Commission
- The United States, through USAID, funded a new cybersecurity server center for the Central Election Commission. The new hardware and software, combined with U.S.-provided technical assistance, will help the CEC protect Georgia’s elections from cyberattacks.
- The United States, through USAID, helped the CEC establish a disinformation monitoring center, which opened in October. The monitoring center has four full-time monitors tracking and responding to election-related misinformation and disinformation spread by television, print and digital media, and social media.
- The United States, through USAID and our Office of Defense Cooperation, is helping Georgia conduct safe elections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States donated more than 2 million single-use face masks, nearly 50,000 reusable face shields, and more than 6,000 liters of hand sanitizer along with 176,000 latex gloves and 8,000 liters of disinfectant.
Election Monitoring and Enforcement
- The United States, through USAID, supports local and international election observer missions to ensure that Georgia’s elections will be free and fair. This includes several local organizations that work in Georgia’s regions to monitor the pre-election environment, observe polling stations on election day and conduct parallel vote tabulation.
- The United States, through our Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor, helped train prosecutors and investigators on how to identify, investigate, and prosecute election crimes.
- The United States, through the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement section, has provided training to Georgian police on crowd management to ensure that people can safely exercise their right to assemble and protest.
- Approximately 65 employees of the U.S. Embassy will participate in election observation efforts throughout Georgia on election day.
Voter Information/Disinformation Monitoring
- The United States, through USAID, in addition to helping the CEC establish a disinformation monitoring center, is funding local organizations to monitor the spread of election-related disinformation and strengthen local media’s ability to expose and counter disinformation and malign influence efforts.
- The United States, through USAID, is also partnering with local organizations to produce investigative research into Russian disinformation campaigns targeting the elections.
- The United States, through USAID, is working to provide accurate election related information through Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and even personalized voter information letters distributed to all registered voters.
- In particular, the United States is supporting the CEC to produce and disseminate three voter information PSA announcements covering key themes: (1) Countering voter intimidation of civil servants; (2) Protecting the secrecy of the vote; and (3) Explaining new COVID-19 safety procedures for election day.
- The United States is supporting the CEC to distribute letters to all registered voters to reassure voters that COVID-19 mitigation procedures will be implemented on election day. These letters also reinforce the secrecy of the vote and provide guidance on voters’ rights to mitigate voter intimidation in and around polling centers.
- The United States, through USAID, is also organizing a get-out-the-vote campaign, “The Future is in Your Hands.” The campaign reinforces to voters that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, only that you participate in the election and cast your ballot. The campaign will also encourage young and first-time voters to get out and vote.