August 10, 2004

Foreign Monitors to Report on U.S. Presidential Vote

The hour is getting late."

Saul Hudson, Reuters: Major international monitors
will issue an unprecedented report on the handling of
this year's U.S. presidential election, after the 2000
vote raised concerns of disenfranchisement, U.S.
officials said on Monday.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe will a send a team to observe the vote in a
move applauded by Democrats who had sought monitors
because they felt ballots were unfairly left uncounted
last time, particularly in Florida...
The OSCE, which groups 55 countries, does not have a
mandate to judge the fairness of this year's vote.
Still, while some OSCE representatives have observed
U.S. presidential votes before, this year will be the
first time they will report publicly afterward on any
shortcomings it finds, according to State Department
officials.
"This represents a step in the right direction toward
ensuring that this year's elections are fair and
transparent," Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat,
said in a statement. "We sincerely hope that the
presence of the monitors will make certain that every
person's voice is heard, every person's vote is
counted."

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Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=5916368

Foreign Monitors to Report on U.S. Presidential Vote
Mon Aug 9, 2004 07:43 PM ET

By Saul Hudson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major international monitors
will issue an unprecedented report on the handling of
this year's U.S. presidential election, after the 2000
vote raised concerns of disenfranchisement, U.S.
officials said on Monday.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe will a send a team to observe the vote in a
move applauded by Democrats who had sought monitors
because they felt ballots were unfairly left uncounted
last time, particularly in Florida.

In 2000, voters split down the middle in Florida,
which was ridiculed worldwide as it spawned court
battles over whether and how to count imperfect
ballots. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled
George W. Bush was the winner by 537 votes, which put
him in the White House.

With polls showing this year's election between Bush
and Democrat John Kerry will also be tight, civil
rights groups have raised concern over a repeat of the
2000 debacle.

The OSCE, which groups 55 countries, does not have a
mandate to judge the fairness of this year's vote.
Still, while some OSCE representatives have observed
U.S. presidential votes before, this year will be the
first time they will report publicly afterward on any
shortcomings it finds, according to State Department
officials.

"This represents a step in the right direction toward
ensuring that this year's elections are fair and
transparent," Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat,
said in a statement. "We sincerely hope that the
presence of the monitors will make certain that every
person's voice is heard, every person's vote is
counted."

Lee was one of a group of Democrats in the House of
Representatives who initially wanted U.N. monitors.
Republicans complained a U.N. mission would make the
world's superpower look like a third world nation and
passed an amendment in the House banning the use of
federal funds to make such a request.

The OSCE traditionally has monitored elections in
fragile democracies to determine if they were fair.
But in the last few years it has also observed votes
in major Western powers, such as France and Spain, in
a new program to help its members learn from others'
examples.

The State Department, which traditionally invites OSCE
observers, requested the mission under that new
program.

Focusing on Florida, an OSCE mission observed the 2002
mid-term U.S. congressional elections to see what
changes had been put in place "to address the
challenges of the 2000 presidential election," the
OSCE vote report said.

The report noted "remedial measures" had significantly
addressed the shortcomings of two years earlier in
Florida but said "room for some further improvement
remains."

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Posted by richard at August 10, 2004 04:44 PM