A sad day in American politics:
“In a move drawing fire from voter ID law supporters, the largest global election monitoring organization is sending an unprecedented number of observers to U.S. polling stations, paying particular attention to any signs of voter intimidation.
The website of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe says that more than 100 parliamentarians from Europe and Central Asia will travel to the United States to monitor the Nov. 6 elections.
The site says it is ‘the largest Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe parliamentary delegation to ever observe a North American election.’ “
Of course the OSCE is only coming to town because Republicans and Democrats are faced off in a razor thin election and one side tried to set up last-minute rule changes that could’ve potentially disenfranchised 5 million voters of particular demographics — i.e., the lower classes, blacks, Latinos and young people. Now groups like the ACLU and the NAACP have asked the OSCE to watch for any signs of voter intimidation at the polls.
“In the face of these sophisticated and pervasive efforts involving voter suppression, voter intimidation and charges of voter fraud, we decided that it was important that an international monitoring organization observe and report back,” said Scott Westbrook Simpson, press secretary for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, one of the groups that joined the ACLU and the NAACP in inviting the foreign monitors.
Republicans across the country are up in arms over the news that foreign officials will be monitoring the polls on Election Day, but it’s a smart move by the American groups who have real concerns about voter intimidation. If Romney were to win on Election Night and a group like the ACLU were to report massive voter intimidation at the polls, who would believe them? — well, I guess most Americans would believe them, except the Republican Party.
Irony of all ironies, the OSCE has monitored U.S. elections since 2002, when President Bush invited the group.
Nonetheless, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, has threatened the OSCE with “criminal prosecution” should any of its member be caught within 100 feet of a polling place. Another Republican, Congressman Connie Mack of Florida, said that OSCE operations “should be reserved for third-world countries, banana republics and fledgling democracies.” Well, Congressman, America may not be a fledgling democracy, but when one party threatens the fundamental rights of citizenship, we might as well be a teetering democracy.
What did True the Vote supporters expect? When one party tries to implement new voting laws in battleground states and conducts purges of the voter rolls just weeks ahead of a contentious election, it’s bound to turn a few heads abroad. If members of Venezuela’s United Socialist Party or Iran’s Abadgaran behaved the same way before an important election, Americans on both sides of the political divide would call foul. (Actually, the United Socialist Party would never try to disenfranchise the poorer people of Venezuela. It’s only the Republican Party that wants to disenfranchise poor people.)
In the end, it’s just as Simpson put it: “The truth is if we want to stand by our role as a beacon of democracy, this shouldn’t be a problem. People shouldn’t be afraid of having monitors that are federal and international to see how our democracy works.”