International Observers Sent To Prevent Voter Suppression in U.S. Elections
In response to the concerted efforts by Republicans to suppress voter turn-out in the November election, civil rights groups have asked the world’s largest election monitoring organization to police the elections for fraud.
As reported in The Hill, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will send 44 observers around the country on November 6th to monitor voting and prevent efforts to intimidate voters at the polls. They come at the urging of civil rights groups like the ACLU, NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Not surprising, voter suppression Tea Party activist Catherine Englebreacht was not pleased with this news. In a statement to The Hill, Engelbreacht said “[T]hese activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations. The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”
Engelbreacht is founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative voter-vigilante group that deploys “poll-watchers” in heavily Democratic voting districts to conduct “election integrity” operations. The group has caught the attention of Congress for it’s likely criminal voter suppression tactics, so it’s no surprise the idea of election monitors would upset Engelbreacht. The fact that these are international election monitors must only drive that Tea Party, anti-United Nations, conspiracy-riddled group of activists all the more batty. And they must really hate the fact that access of international observers during voting is explicitly allowed in states like Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Mexico. Oops.
Ohio alone is making the case for the need for international election monitors. Despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court expressly kept in place a lower court’s order directing the Secretary of State to keep early voting open and accessible there are restrictions in place in flagrant violation of those orders. In Virginia Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccineli said he won’t prosecute the GOP operative found feloniously destroying voter registration cards, presumably because he’s too busy trying to shut down abortion clinics in the state. And in Arizona Republicans in that state sent out voter information flyers with the wrong date for the election only to Spanish-speaking residents.
It’s a tight race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, and the Republicans have made it clear that if they can’t win it they sure plan to steal it. If our own Department of Justice can’t prevent this kind of disenfranchisement, in part because conservatives simply now ignore the rule of law they disagree with, then international election monitors might be this democracy’s last chance.