Sunday, August 08, 2004

International Team to Monitor Presidential Election

Okay, I've been away all day so I'm probably late on any news I post. Will that stop me? Not gonna happen.

It seems that the U.S. has asked for international observers for November's presidential elections.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was invited to monitor the election by the State Department. The observers will come from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

It will be the first time such a team has been present for a U.S. presidential election.
I heard about this on the radio and immediately knew I was going to post my opposition to this move. Ahh, but there's one little tidbit that did not make the radio broadcast.
"The U.S. is obliged to invite us, as all OSCE countries should," spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said. "It's not legally binding, but it's a political commitment. They signed a document 10 years ago to ask OSCE to observe elections."


OSCE, the world's largest regional security organization, will send a preliminary mission to Washington in September to assess the size, scope, logistics and cost of the mission, Gunnarsdottir said.

The organization, which counts among its missions conflict prevention and postconflict rehabilitation, will then determine how many observers are required and where in the United States they will be sent.

"OSCE-participating [nations] agreed in 1990 to observe elections in one another's countries. The OSCE routinely monitors elections within its 55-state membership, including Europe, Eurasia, Canada and the United States," a State Department spokesman said.

The spokesman said the United States does not have any details on the size and composition of the observers or what countries will provide them.

OSCE, based in Vienna, Austria, has sent more than 10,000 personnel to monitor more than 150 elections and referenda in more than 30 countries during the past decade, Gunnarsdottir said.

In November 2002, OSCE sent 10 observers on a weeklong mission to monitor the U.S. midterm elections. OSCE also sent observers to monitor the California gubernatorial recall election last year.
So, it seems that their presence is not exactly unprecedented and, to some degree, demanded by our international agreements. I still disagree, but now I also disagree with our membership in an organization I admittedly had not heard of until today.

The sad thing is that, for most of the members of this organization, I would wager that anything they know about free elections they learned from us. Also, for many of them, the main reasons they have free elections now is the valor of Americans in WWI and WWII and the courage and strength of Ronald Reagan.


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