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WASHINGTON – The United Nations has turned down a controversial request by nine members of the U.S. Congress to assign international observers to the U.S. presidential election in November.
The request came in the form of a letter drafted by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and signed by eight other members of the House.
“We are deeply concerned that the right of U.S. citizens to vote in free and fair elections is again in jeopardy,” the lawmakers wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Besides Johnson, the other representatives signing the letter to Annan – all Democrats – were Julia Carson of Indiana; Jerrold Nadler, Edolphus Towns, Joseph Crowley and Carolyn B. Maloney, all of New York; Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Corrine Brown of Florida, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, Danny K. Davis of Illinois and Michael M. Honda of California.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Johnson was an early supporter of Sen. John Edwards’ campaign for the presidency. Yesterday Edwards was selected as John Kerry’s Democratic Party running mate.
“Generally, the United Nations does not intervene in electoral affairs unless the request comes from a national government or an electoral authority – not the legislative branch,” said U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe.
Nevertheless, the proposal by Johnson and the other members of the House has raised the hackles of Republicans and others who saw irony in the timing of the announcement – just before America’s Independence Day celebrations.
“Let me get this straight,” wrote Joe Mariani in GOPUSA.com. “A group of Democrats want to bring some people from countries like North Korea, Iran, Syria, China and Cuba – people that have never seen a democratic election in their lifetimes – to sit in judgment on our elections? What kind of voodoo politics is that? The last time a foreign body had any direct influence over the political process of this country, the situation was corrected by a war for our freedom from British rule. Are these so-called Americans so willing to surrender that hard-won right of self-determination now, and to such a shamelessly scandal-ridden group of anti-American dictatorships and terrorist sympathizers? We may as well dissolve the Union now and save ourselves the pain of watching it done for us.”
The Democrats said they feared a repeat of the 2000 election, which was won by George W. Bush, a Republican, through the Electoral College count even though he lost the popular vote.
The Democrats had asked in the letter for “international election monitors” to watch for “questionable practices and voter disenfranchisement on Election Day.”
The Democratic Congress members wrote that they did not think sufficient reforms had been implemented to prevent another voting debacle.
“As the next Election Day approaches, there is more cause for alarm rather than less,” the letter said.
Because the U.N. Charter bars violations of sovereignty, the State Department, or perhaps the Federal Election Commission, would have to invite observers, said U.N. officials. Monitoring would also have to be approved by the Security Council or the General Assembly.
Since the rule of thumb for vote monitoring is one observer for each 100 polling sites, about 2,000 foreigners would have to be deployed from Key West to Anchorage.
Johnson’s letter points to “widespread allegations of voter disenfranchisement” in Florida and other states in 2000, and it cites an April report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that found potential for “significant problems” this time around.
“As lawmakers, we must assure the people of America that our nation will not experience the nightmare of the 2000 presidential election,” Johnson wrote. “This is the first step in making sure that history does not repeat itself,” she added.
The Nov. 7, 2000, election was decided 36 days later when the U.S. Supreme Court made two rulings that stopped Democratic challenger Al Gore’s attempt to recount some of the Florida votes. A number of independent investigations confirmed President Bush won the state’s 25 electoral votes, giving him a total of 271 to Gore’s 267.
Tom Kilgannon, president of Freedom Alliance, a group dedicated to protecting American sovereignty, admonished Johnson and her colleagues.
“Your appeal to the secretary general is alarming and embarrassing,” he said. “As a Member of Congress sworn to uphold the Constitution and represent the people of the United States, it is disturbing, to say the least, that you would entrust the most sacred act of American democracy – our presidential election – to an international institution, which is unaccountable to the American people and mired by scandal and corruption.”
Kilgannon said the request “undermines U.S. sovereignty, demoralizes American servicemen who are fighting to build democratic governments abroad and sends the message worldwide that the United States is nothing more than a Third World nation unable to police itself.”
Stories about the action by the members of Congress appeared all over the world – from Tehran to Uraguay and to China.
Read Joseph Farah’s commentary, “Treason in Congress,” in
today’s edition of WorldNetDaily.