In a move that has Michael Moore celebrating and Conservatives outraged, the United Nations backed Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe announced it will be sending observers to monitor the 2012 election for President of the United States. The OSCE is a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects.
The presence of foreign observers at American polling places was discussed at an April meeting between the OSCE and the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU and other organizations. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released a letter about the meeting. The letter reads in part:
“On behalf of the undersigned organizations committed to supporting and expanding the civil and human rights of all Americans, including the right to vote, we write regarding the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe’s plans to monitor the upcoming presidential election, and to follow up on a meeting you conducted in April with representatives from the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and others, where concerns were raised about recent efforts to suppress the vote of many Americans in the upcoming election in November 2012. Election observation is an important function of our democratic process and serves as an additional means of protecting the rights of those who are most likely to be disenfranchised and least able to advocate for their right to vote. To that end, we believe it is particularly important that safeguards, including election monitoring, are in place in key areas around the country, and believe your presence would be particularly critical in districts in Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.”
Republicans have pointed out the states specifically mentioned in the letter are states where the Democrats lost important elections, states where complaints were filed concerning voter fraud by illegal aliens, or states that are key battlegrounds in the upcoming election. They were particularly incensed over the mention of Wisconsin, which they feel is in retaliation for Governor Scott Walker successfully winning the recall election despite the massive influx of Democratic funding and out of state Democratic campaign workers.
The request for observers is reputed to be the brainchild of Democratic and Liberal organizations who have objected to any and all attempts to require voters to present identification in order to vote. The argument between those who support ID as a requirement to vote and those who want people to be able to vote without ID often defies all logic and common sense.
Opponents of voter ID have shouted to the heavens that voter ID is a Republican plot to prevent the poor, the aged, and minorities from voting.
Those who support voter ID have repeatedly pointed out that ID is required to function normally as we go though our daily activities. We must present identification to fly, to pick up a package at the post office, to use a credit card in most stores or when cashing any and all government checks. They point out that ID was even required to enter the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and loudly wonder why Democrats would object so strongly to removing the dead from the voting roles or requiring legitimate voters to simply show the same ID they use constantly in all facets of their lives.
In a recent article in The Hill, the founder of True The Vote voiced her outrage over the participation of a foreign organization in the monitoring of an election in our sovereign nation:
“The request for foreign monitoring of election sites drew a strong rebuke from Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group seeking to crack down on election fraud.”
“”These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations,” she said in a statement to The Hill. “The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”‘
“We are not in the business of picking winners or losers, but instead, to ensure that the process is iron-clad. Properly trained, capable poll watchers or workers should offer no indication of their partisan or ideological leanings to voters at the polls.”
Despite the fuss raised by Conservative groups, the OSCE claims they have been permitted to observe American elections in the past. For the upcoming election, the observers will come from such countries as Germany, France, Serbia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
“They [will] observe the overall election process, not just the ballot casting,” said Giovanna Maiola, spokeswoman for OSCE. “They are focusing on a number of areas on the state level, including the legal system, election administration, the campaign, the campaign financing [and] new voting technologies used in the different states. The OSCE has regularly been invited to observe elections in the United States, in line with OSCE commitments.”
Some states have explicit laws that do not allow the presence of foreign observers at their polling places. These states include Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Mexico. This has not stopped the OSCE from trying to convince local jurisdictions to allow them in anyway.
“State law does not generally provide for international observers,” Maiola said. “However, through our contacts at state and county level in certain states, we managed to secure invitations at local level and we have taken up the offer to observe. Where this is not possible, we will respect the state regulation on this matter and will not observe in precincts on Election Day.”
This is a thorny issue at best and is sure to infuriate those Americans who are not fond of the United Nations. Some Americans object strenuously to our tax dollars going to the UN, especially in times of economic hardship. They also resent the hostility many member states have directed towards our nation. There is a measurable percentage of our citizens who would be quite happy to see the UN take its entire organization and head somewhere else; perhaps Dubai or Tehran or one of the numerous other dictatorships that dominates the policies of the United Nations and work so strongly against the best interests of the American people.
Of course, the internationalists and environmentalists who are a strong part of the Democratic Party are strong supporters of the United Nations. They are highly offended by those who dislike or criticize the UN and would like to see the UN have a stronger role in American life. Mr. Obama has been a vocal supporter of The Law Of the Sea Treaty, The Small Arms Treaty and other United Nations treaties that the Senate has refused to ratify for decades.
It is important to point out that this entire argument illustrates how critical the 2012 election is to America’s future. One side says it wants less government, less foreign intervention and more respect for American sovereignty. The other side supports Cap and Trade, UN Treaties, Agenda 21 and favors increased American involvement in the global community. It will be up to each and every voter to decide which future they wish to see for our great nation.
UPDATE 3:30 pm CST:
As reported by The Hill, the U.N. will be specifically looking for “voter suppression activities by conservative groups.”
“The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It’s part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.’
“Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.’
‘The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”
GOP USA responded to the controversy with a very pointed comment:
“This is absolutely crazy. These so-called civil rights groups sure had no problem when Black Panthers were intimidating voters at polling locations. Yet, they are now concerned about voter suppression?”
“And of all groups to be involved… the U.N.? These are the guys who put terrorist nations on the Human Rights Committee. The U.N. also has absolutely NO jurisdiction over American elections, so why don’t they find something better to do.”
“In a day and age, where the integrity of the ballot box is being called into question more and more, it seems odd that these groups are suddenly speaking up. Americans support voter ID laws, yet the left and civil-rights groups oppose those measures at every turn. Real election fraud and voter intimidation cases go unprosecuted under the Obama administration. And now they want U.N. help?”
One thing is clear. There is a deep divide in our nation and both sides are equally passionate in defense of their opinions. Who will prevail and which point of view the majority of Americans support may be decided in part on election day, but the arguments and the issues will continue to simmer long after the election is over.