"Thirteen Democratic members of the House of Representatives, raising the specter of possible civil rights violations that they said took place in Florida and elsewhere in the 2000 election, wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July, asking him to send observers."
After hearing about Bush's support for allowing foreigners to oversee our Nation's elections, I may switch my vote to Kerry. At least I know where he stands.
Oh wait, I don't. Who's running on the Independent ticket? Libertarian?
It's about time someone took the US elections seriously, since the public won't.
I don't know if anyone else saw this, but on Sunday on CNBC, Howard Dean was substitute-hosting on Topic A with Tina Brown, and some woman brought a laptop with a program that counts electronic votes. Within a minute and a half, she had shown him how to alter the results of the election. It really was as simple as opening up the folder containing the program, clicking one option, highlighting the numbers of votes people got and changing them.
So with that in mind, I'm glad we have some sort of monitoring going on.
I don't undertand your position. Do you claim that we have flawless, ethically-run elections? Do you think that our reputation for running elections is not already tarnished? What could be the harm in allowing observers?
I would think that anyone in a free society would welcome oversight.
What does it say to the rest of the free world when a free, democratic nation is afraid of some peer review and oversight?
Sorry, but I do not want foreigners involved in our election process, whatsoever. Who said they were unbiased to begin with? If the French or Germans are involved in this process, George W. can kiss his election good-bye. In a sense, it would serve him right.
That's a made-for-tv publicity stunt, not real life. In real life, you, at the very least, have to break into a secure system to get at the data.
The reason I'm skittish about this is the peers part. Who, precisely are our peers and can they really be impartial? Who oversees the overseers?
Some lady proved that if you can open someone's Excel spreadsheet, you can change some of the entries. Wow, Topic A looks like real quality programming.
I welcome the overseers also after reading about how the last election was scandalized (here: http://www.gregpalast.com/columns.cfm?subject_id=1&subject_name=Theft%20of%20Presidency [Broken] ) I wouldn't mind if a bunch of obsevers came to moniter.
Exactly where are they going to monitor? Let me guess: Democratic enclaves.
Sure. Any requirement for an honest election is obviously a conspiracy against the Republicans...an international conspiracy no less!
Should other countries ever have their elections monitored? Or are you proposing a double standard?
Given that actual election officials have a greater chance of being biased than outside observers, what's your point? Why is an external opinion a threat to your world?
Evidence? The most obvious implication of this statement as it stands is that you don't think George W. can be re-elected without rigging the election, and thus we need to keep out observers so this will not be detected. I doubt that's what you wanted to say.
I suppose an alternative reading might be that you are asking us to believe that French and German observers, with their vast network of ties to the American companies that manufacture electronic voting machines, would be able to rig the voting machines in favor of Democrats...
In a sense ... ?
On the other hand, do you really want to see what would happen to this country if there is even solid circumstantial evidence of the election being rigged? Why has the administration not banned the current generation of electronic voting machines as perhaps the greatest threat to U.S. domestic order in recent memory? But it's not like the appearance of conflict of interest has ever bothered the current administration. Or, apparently, bothered many of the administration's supporters either.
Sure, when situations become especially egregious, such as when the ruling power is a dictatorship or armed militias are keeping people from voting. I fail to see how anything occuring in 2000 approaches such a situation.
That is not a given. Bush is not well-liked by many foreigners. So do you have any evidence to back your claim? How do you propose to find foriegn voting observers with no opinion on the US' war with Iraq?
The very fact that Liberals screamed about voting procedures is naturally going to lean the observers' focus towards protecting their voting rights, while ignoring the voting rights of others. We can see whether or not that is the case by examing which regions of the country they focus their attention. If they migrate towards Democratic blocks for monitoring, would that not be solid evidence of their bias? Is Orange County going to receive the same monitoring as Dade County? I doubt it.
It isn't merely an "opinion." Biased observers can poison the entire political process. If some German declares that voting rights were impeded, what do you do then?
False premise. You assume that I think outside observers are going to be fair in their treatment of those voting for Bush and Kerry.
You are relying on the fallacy of limited options.
RIGGED? Strong words. Show evidence that the elections were rigged first, then we'll talk.
But most of your points are moot to my argument: Foreign countries should not participate in any way with our election process. This is not a third-world country with a mad dictator ordering his militia to shoot those that vote for the opposition. It is a matter of sovereignty to me. And George W. has lost some good will from me by allowing this to happen. It is none of Germany's business to worry about our election process. These are OUR GODDAMN ELECTIONS!
And George W. can count me out for support this year. What next? Are we going to have international monitoring of our Supreme Court decisions? Are Germans going to sit in on our trial court proceedings?
How exactly could observers taint our elections?
Also keep in mind that observers would not just be any Joe Schmoe from the street, but people who are trained, objective experts.
The idea that observers would be biased and therefore compromise our elections has to be one of the worst arguments I have ever heard.
It's a WASTE OF MONEY.
I already explained. When observers point out irregularities (real or imagined), it clouds the entire election. What do you at that point?
Objective? How do you determine whether or not they are truly objective? How do you train someone to be objective?
A weak refutation if I ever heard one.
Read this: http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=297&row=1 [Broken] and this http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=182&row=2 [Broken]
not that much difference from a dictatorships ruling power
It was the Dem areas that were blocked from voting or whos votes were 'Spoiled' and it was Dems who were predominatly placed on the 'felons' list and removed from voter rolls.
Again, I refer you to the Greg Palast investigation in Florida.
This is an objective appraisal of the 2000 election? This is the primary source of evidence for bringing in international obsevers?
What next? Michael Moore?
So I'm wondering if people opposed to observers here in turn support the presense of UN observers in other nations, like Iraq for example?
You are relying on the fallacy of the slippery slope.
Well, it hasn't been explained what exactly they would be doing - but if they are simply observing and not saying anything, then what is the point of having them? And if, like JD asked, they comment, what do we do then? Do we act based on their comments?
Absolutely. Looking for a double standard? That isn't one: Iraq has never had democratic elections. That makes it a vastly different situation.
A foreign tabloid reporter hawking a book? Riiiiiight.... From the site:
Of 94,000 purged felons, only 3,000 were actually felons and the rest should not have been purged? Sorry, but I just plain don't buy it. That's pretty big for something we haven't heard of from real media sources. Then again, its in a book so it must be true, right?
And its also Dems who tend to vote after they're dead. So, hmm...
Anyway, how many observers are there going to be? There are what, 100,000 polling places? JD and I have brought up possible negatives - does anyone see how they could make a positive contribution to our election process? What specifically could they do that would be a good thing? Run me through a scenario for each case: 1. if they found no impropriety, 2. if they found an impropriety.
Russ, others- Electoral observation is done in many different countries including well established democracies. It is becoming more of a habit and of interest to observe and be observed. What's wrong with that? to keep democracy alive, alert and improving, to keep people and organisations interested and learning? Elections in European countries are observed, peculiarities, problems and improvements are freely discussed, people from different countries come and see and go and take a look as well. there is a worldwide net of observers observing. Our country is everywhere, and is also a very good electoral observer. Why not the object of electoral observation also?
I think that it's important to show the world that even the United States is willing to open itself up to monitoring, it gives others less of an excuse to not be open to it as well. Serious international observation might point out deficencies and easy solutions as well. Not that our country hasn't got the resources to find all of that on its own, but the people who I know that do electoral work all the time accumulate a lot of knowledge that can encourage improvement, this is information that should be shared. For example, in 2000 we saw that there was a tremendous need of new design for ballots. The OSCE (the EU too, but OSCE does it better) has very good teams doing Technical Assitance in ballot design, in "marking ballots vs punching them", in perhaps doing away with punching machines and re-converting to manual punching.
BTW, some clarification: in spite of its name the OSCE is very much an American product, the USA is very involved in a positive way, so if OSCE comes to observe it will NOT be the Europeans but a cooperation of Americans and the others. The OSCE is an electoral observing agency that's very well participated by Americans since its beginning and one that without Americans would NOT have existed and would NOT be maintained. Keep that in mind.
An aside, I'm very glad to see the OSCE observing in place of the U.N. observers that the Dem's were calling for.
*edit: I wanted to offer the relevent portion of the appendix from the Paris Summit in 1990.
I think so considering the sudden, mystical distrust of UN observers. I have never heard these objections about UN observers until now. I absolutely do find this to be a double standard.
Presumably the observers would report violations such as those that allegedly took place in Florida when blacks were denied their constitutional rights. I'm not sure of the exact legal mechanism that would come into play given wide spread or significant fraud, but the word of the observers clearly would not be the final say. In a worst case the final judgement would come from the Surpeme Court. Its not like we're handing over power to a foreign agent.
Separate names with a comma.