IFES Statement on the Passing of John McCain

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), is introduced to supporters at a campaign rally on September 5, 2008, in Sterling Heights, Mich.

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AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
Publication Date: 
27 Aug 2018

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The Board of Directors and staff of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) mourn the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain on August 25, 2018, at the age of 81. Senator McCain was a dedicated and unwavering champion for democracy. Through his leadership of the International Republican Institute for 25 years, as well as his constant advocacy for the causes of political and human rights in countries under challenge and on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator McCain was relentless on behalf of our “moral obligation to continue in our just cause.” His leadership for democracy was based in his personal experience and fundamental belief that the right for every voice to be heard and every vote counted was necessary to advancing the cause of freedom.

The IFES team had regular interactions with Senator McCain in Washington, D.C., and around the world. “He appreciated the mechanics of democracy and would always make time in his travels to understand the realities of civil society, political parties and election administration. Like most experienced political leaders, he was curious about the personalities and forces of both political competition and peaceful resolution in societies under stress. He was always looking to add information rather than expecting confirmation,” said IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney. “During a time of challenge to democracy, the world has lost one of its strongest champions. He will be missed, but his voice will never be silenced.”