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October 22 2012

U.N. Monitors: Shaming the U.S.

Charlotte Hays

Let me get this straight: the Obama Justice Department opposes requiring voters to a valid ID, but the administration is okay with U.N.monitors at our polling places on election day?

Here is a report from The Hill:

United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”

U. N. monitors are for fledgling countries that might not have the hang of fair voting or corrupt countries where elections are in peril. The Hill goes on to report:

Neil Simon, director of communications for the OSCE’s parliamentary assembly, agreed the U.N. does not have jurisdiction over U.S. elections but noted all OSCE member counties, which include the United States, have committed since 1990 to hold free and democratic elections and to allow one another to observe their elections.

So in the cradle of free and fair elections we are to be subjected to monitors from Serbia? The ACLU, NAACP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights should be ashamed of making the request.

One of the great canards is that whites election officials work to suppress black vote. Sadly, this was true at one time. But there are no reliable indicators that it is the reality today, and it is wrong for leaders to capitalize on a long-abolished ill to maintain their own power.  

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, at the time then led by the far-left Mary Frances Berry, held hearings on alleged voter suppression in the presidential race in Florida in 2000. If you read any of the testimony, you know that the accusations fizzled on closer inspection. Nevertheless, the commission put out a  majority report saying that there had been voter suppression. Scholar Abigail Thernstom, then serving on the commission, put out a dissenting report saying this:

Dr. Abigail Thernstrom, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, testified today before the Senate Rules Committee that the Commission’s majority report on the 2000 Florida election used flawed data to justify its preconceived, partisan belief that the election was marred by discrimination and disfranchisement of minority voters. A more rigorous statistical analysis of the Florida voting data found that the race of voters in recent Florida elections was statistically unrelated to the rate of ballot spoilage. …

“The majority report used shoddy statistical analysis, coupled with anecdotal and unsubstantiated allegations—disregarding the preponderance of testimony—to paint a portrait of disfranchisement and intimidation of minorities in the Florida election that bears no resemblance whatsoever to actual fact,” said Dr. Thernstrom.

Any case of an attempt at voter suppression should be punished to the full extent of the law. Every instance imperils our system of government. But so do trumped up charges that seek to tarnish the reputation of the United States. This would be a nice topic for a question in tonight’s debate.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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