State Department is allowing international observers to monitor the election

Beyond this being a welcome development, I have to wonder about the behind-the-scenes goings on. Colin Powell ok’d this. He also pulled out as a speaker at the Republican convention.

It took over 200 years and an idiot cowboy, but we’ve made it: we’re a third-world country.

“Third-world country?” European Union elections are authorized to have international observers:

(my italics)

In some respects, I think the US is finally catching up with the rest of the world. Why not have neutral observers at an election?

Given the dislike many foreigners have for Bush how can we say they’re neutral?


Well, that’s why the EU authorizations include “d. Observation should cover respect by the authorities of their duty of neutrality.” If the State Department believes that the observers can’t be “neutral,” then they should be able to bar them from observing.

After all, this is the State Department which is permitting the observers to attend, not the DNC. The State Department is headed by Colin Powell–do you think he would be trying to embarrass the GOP by inviting these selected observers?

Nah, I don’t think he’s trying to embarass the GOP. I just find it hard to believe that anybody knowledgeable enough about the voting process is truly neutral. Ultimately my reaction to UN observers to our elections is a resounding meh. I’m wildly indifferent as I see no reason to be concerned or embarassed.


Well, do you really think an observer is going to turn a blind eye, if Kerry should decide to manipulate the election? I find that unlikely, so I think the observers will be neutral and impartial in pointing out inconsistencies at the election irrespective of the source, in the unlikely event that there are any such things to report.

But you are right, the dislike for Bush - which doesn’t come out of the blue, mind you - would cause me to pay a bit more attention to what the Bush administration does at the election, if I were an observer.

Since observers merely watch, they won’t have an adverse effect on the elections though. In fact, the USA and the Bush administration in particular can only benefit from this, as it restores the faith in democratic elections.

What would be interesting is to see what these observes notice, if anything, of significance regarding our elections that we haven’t noticed or seen in the US media already.

Where will they be watching? Will they be at polls in certain places set up by the State Department or can they request specific locales to observe in?

If I were one of these observers, I think there’d be some interesting places that I’d like to watch elections, like in the Florida counties that were such a problem with the last election, or in some of the places in Chicago and Philadelphia in which I’ve heard those weird stories about dead people showing up to vote, or perhaps say in a mental health facility to observe how it is that those who wish to vote there are helped to do so.

I also think that as long as the observers are as fair and objective as possible, and this could be helped along if it were possible to pair the observers in right-leaning and left-leaning pairs at each observation point, we have an opportunity to learn some valuable stuff by seeing with ‘new eyes.’

I do hope this opportunity is not squandered, but perhaps that is idealistic.

Four years, please. We were doing fine up through 2000.

It’s a good thing IMO - but in this case not really because the US elections need international observers. I imagine the elections will be vigorously observed by Americans like never before, and they won’t be shy in denouncing any shortcomings, nor will anyone be able to hinder them from that.

International observers of US elections are useful not because the US were a banana republic but if the US is seen to welcome international observers, banana republics have no excuse not to.

Several questions come to mind:

  1. How are these OSCE observers different from the UN observers some Democrats requested earlier? Why did the Admin find them more acceptable? Do they use different methods? Apply different standards? (Or is it just because it’s likely that all or most of the OSCE observers will be white, and UN observers might not be?)

  2. If these observers observe something they consider improper – what happens then? Who do they tell? And who has the authority to do anything about it?

  3. If this election, like the 2000 election, is close enough to be thrown into the courts, is the testimony of OSCE observers admissible in evidence?

Did he give a reason? Has he finally had enough of this bunch? This could be political fodder for the left.

From the relevant OSCEsite:

So it’s actually an a preexistent agreement. If I read this correctly the US have issued invitations for a decade and the OSCE has passed until the 2002 US midterm elections.

It seems the observers publish reports, and the rest is up to the political process (and possibly the judiciary) of the respective country.

Did he “pull out”? It’s my understanding that Cabinet members, by tradition, do not speak at presidential conventions.

I appreciate everyone’s thoughts, thank you.

After Florida 2000, every American should be concerned and embarrassed. I’m terrified.

I don’t know what to think of the observers. The thing that needs to be watched the most are electronic voting machines, especially in Florida. I don’t know how observers could help there.

Good post. I agree.

He was scheduled, up until last week. I have no cite for that though, sorry. I watched some of the “news” “coverage” of the Democratic National Convention and heard it mentioned several times that he would be there.

Maybe by tradition Cabinet members don’t speak, but I’d think the Bush administration and Republican party could have anyone they want, and they’d really really want Colin Powell. The “tradition” card is awfully handy to be able to use.

This is the only cite I have for him not appearing: GOP Star to Skip Convention.

Maybe they could do some exit polls, to provide a check against the official vote count. If the polling sample is statistically large enough to be reliable, and the exit poll result does not match the official count, a red flag would go up.

But that would take a lot of observers with a lot of funding. How many are they sending?

As for Powell – my guess is, he is at long last disgusted with an adminstration that has rewarded his steadfast loyalty by consistently ignoring his advice. And he might have ambitions to make a presidential bid in 2008, and it will help if he can dissociate himself from Bush.

Your understanding would be incorrect. The media (no doubt fed this point by the WH) has reported such, but Secretary of Education Rod Paige is speaking at GOP the convention, so the tradition seems to be spotty at best. It’s amazing how stupid the press core is sometimes.

BTW, here’s a cite:

Tradition, my kiester.