Europe’s largest security organization said Friday that it has drastically scaled back plans to send as many as 500 observers to the U.S. to monitor the Nov. 3 presidential election and now will deploy just 30 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — which has observed U.S. elections since 2002 but is better known for monitoring voting in countries such as Belarus or Kyrgyzstan — has spent months trying to figure out how to safely keep tabs on an election it worries will be “the most challenging in recent decades” as Americans pick a president in the throes of a global health crisis.

The use of mail-in voting is expected to increase in many states this year, with voters seeing that as a safer alternative to casting ballots in-person during the pandemic…

An OSCE spokesperson cited both the pandemic and travel restrictions for the reduced mission:

The OSCE’s mission originally was to have involved 100 long-term and 400 short-term observers to the U.S. starting this month, but health concerns and restrictions on travel prompted the Vienna-based organization to pare that back to 30 observers, spokesperson Katya Andrusz told The Associated Press.

Suddenly, what was going to be Europe’s largest-scale U.S. election monitoring effort ever has become one of its smallest. The OSCE sent 49 observers for the 2018 midterms and about 400 for the 2016 presidential election.

“While we had planned to send a full-fledged election observation mission, the safety fears as well as continuing travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are creating challenges,” Andrusz said in an email. The 30 are expected to head to the U.S. early next month and will stay through Nov. 3, she said, adding that none of the observers is from Russia.