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Do we really need international monitors at the polls?

Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

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.”

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. We don’t need international monitors!! Probably UN behinds of this.

  2. Yes , now that we know Mitt Ronneys son has a special interest in polling machines .

  3. Sadly necessary due to GOP sillinessh and blatant racism.

  4. NO

  5. SMH

  6. Really Mr. Chavez..the only response you could come with is “GOP sillinessh and blatant racism.”….SMH

  7. watching the watchers lol

  8. Well since Romney’s son owns the polling machines… maybe we do need them.

  9. Ridiculous to think it’s only GOP. People need to open their eyes and stop seeing only what they want or only what others tell them. International monitors should not be allowed. We should out be insulted and tell them to get the hell away from our election process.

  10. Maura that lie was busted on Snoopes look it up.

  11. Hell yea, since Romney’s son owns some polling machines. And we all know the Romney’s have no problem lying, stealing, cheating and abusing the system. If the intimidating group of True The Vote are gonna be present at any polling station, then we need international monitors.

  12. Oh Jeez.

  13. Those UN observers would be good if they prevented illegals from sneaking in and trying to vote for Obama! Will they be wearing blue helmets?

  14. They have international monitors at elections around the world. So what? It’s part of the fallacy that this is the “greatest country in the world” that makes people think we’re above corruption. We’re not.

  15. If we are “corrupt” then these other nations are a million times more corrupt! Just because its “international” doesn’t make it good. And we are the greatest country in the world!

  16. Yes

  17. We do. Florida 2000. Rest my case.

  18. Yes!!

  19. Maura you struck out on that one! look it up! really

  20. De la cruz, i bet you havent even looked up the facts, you are just following coco on her misguided rant

  21. @Mario Ramirez. You’re comment about “illegals… Trying to vote for Obama” is 100% stupid and ignorant. Undocumented immigrants CAN’T vote.

  22. Hey Abner, we know they are not supposed to vote, but you know they sure are going to try to vote – and they will. Why do you think Democrats are so against asking for ID at the voting booth? Because they are not stupid and they know if ID was asked then a large contingent of their base (the illegals) would not be able to commit voter fraud and get Obama elected.

  23. Abner do you live in a box? under a rock or what? Illegals dont vote really????you are 100% wrong they can vote = they are not supposed to but many do! so i believe the stupid and ignorant ones are the naive obama lovers who dumbfoundly believe that!

  24. Grow up Walter..This is about Voter Supression, who do you think you’re kidding…

  25. get a life dude ,,,,,,,,,,,really voter suppression whau whau tis the truth and you cant hack it!

  26. ElJefe says:

    With all the voter suppression attempts they should be allowed in. Especially in Texas. People do not think that suppressing the vote does not occurs in Texas but Republicans do everything they can to suppress the vote by intimidating minorities.

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