WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Support for the fundamental processes and institutions of democratic governance is a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy, and the United States in conjunction with the Organization of American States (OAS), will co-host for the first time, the Seventh Inter-American Meeting of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in Washington, DC at OAS Headquarters, 200 17th St NW, Washington, DC, on May 6 and 7, 2010. The U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC), the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the OAS General Secretariat signed a memorandum of understanding establishing guidelines for cooperation in support of this meeting on April 23, 2010 at OAS Headquarters.

This annual meeting provides a unique opportunity for senior representatives of electoral authorities from OAS Member States to discuss common challenges, and to share knowledge and best practices in the field of electoral management. During the Seventh Inter-American Meeting, senior electoral representatives will focus attention on the organization of more accessible electoral processes, analyzing three principal topics: models of engagement between electoral management bodies and political parties in electoral processes; the role of the media during electoral processes; and access to voting for persons with disabilities.

The event will begin on Thursday May 6, at 9:00 a.m., with opening remarks by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza; Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, Chair of the OAS Permanent Council and U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS; Commissioner Matthew Petersen, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Election Commission; and Commissioner Donetta Davidson, Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This inaugural session will be OPEN PRESS the remainder of the conference will be CLOSED to the press.

Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will address the Seventh Inter-American Meeting of Electoral Management Bodies on May 7.

The opening session of the meeting will be available by webcast on the OAS Web site at A concluding report will be also produced by the OAS and published at a later date.

Support for free and fair elections, as well as the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as expressed in the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, are central elements of U.S. foreign policy. In this context, the United States is pleased to be a strong supporter of the Inter-American Meetings of Electoral Management Bodies, which serve to strengthen national capacities and improve the conduct of elections throughout the Americas.