Message For International Election Meddlers: “Butt Out”

Bob Barr

11/7/2012 10:54:00 AM - Bob Barr

When I voted yesterday in Smyrna, Georgia, I exchanged pleasantries with poll workers, watched children waiting patiently in line with their parents, and shook hands with a local candidate I know. It was, despite the Rainy Day in Georgia, a thoroughly pleasant and uplifting experience – as voting in a free country should be. Unfortunately, but reflecting a clear trend toward confrontational voting, some voters in other communities and states were not so fortunate.

In some areas, such as Philadelphia, so-called “New Black Panther Party” members, decked out in black berets, metal insignias, sunglasses and special forces-styled black jackets, stationed themselves strategically at polling place entrances in a clear effort to intimidate voters and poll workers. In other areas, “observers” from foreign countries watched for signs of “voter suppression” or “intimidation” – which to these self-styled election experts from such renowned democracies as Serbia, Belarus, Albania, Krygystan, and Kazakhstan, is defined as simply checking voters’ ID cards in order to make sure they are who they say they are and are in fact properly registered.

In still other areas, union officials – fearful of seeing their already slim influence in our country’s political system weakened further – scrambled to place “observers” in key polling sites favorable to pro-union candidates. Of course, as has become commonplace since the “hanging chad” election in 2000, legions of lawyers fanned out across the country -- especially in states deemed to be Electoral College “battlegrounds” -- ready to move the election’s venue from the ballot box to the courtroom as soon as polls began to close.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all this is the move toward the “internationalization” of U.S. elections. This development not only emboldens the dysfunctional United Nations and other multi-national bureaucracies, but also raises the specter of future U.S. election results being challenged in international judicial forums.

The primary vehicle for this attempted international interference in our country’s domestic election processes is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a relic of the Cold War. The OSCE has no real purpose in life, other than serving as a vehicle by which its 56 members are able to proclaim it to be “the world’s largest regional security organization.”

What Voter ID laws in some 33 American states have to do with “regional security” in Europe escapes me; but for some reason the Obama Administration sees a link. According to the official OSCE website, the U.S. Mission to that organization issued an “official invitation” earlier this Fall for it to send nearly four dozen officials to monitor our electoral process – from campaign activities to vote counting. The OSCE, through its component bureaucracy, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), will then issue a report letting us and the world know whether our elections measure up to its high standards and those of its member states, such as Albania and Krygystan.

Thankfully, and unlike the official U.S. Mission to OSCE, some elected officials in our country have told these foreign observers to “butt out.” Attorneys General in Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa, for example, have put the head of the OSCE/ODIHR on notice that any international “observers” who attempted to interfere in their states’ electoral processes, will face criminal prosecution.

Janez Lenarcic, the Slovenian diplomat who heads the ODIHR, bristled at the threat of prosecution, declaring that the U.S. has an “obligation” to grant his observers access to American polling sites and processes. This is nonsense, of course, but some election officials still kowtow to these international meddlers. For instance, Mark Anderson, the election supervisor for Bay County, Florida was photographed obediently demonstrating to the head of the ODIHR Monitoring Mission how that county’s voting machines worked.

Affording these international meddlers any credibility or implication that we “owe” them any access to, or explanation about, our domestic voting processes, plays right into the hands of those who wish to have various international organizations, including the United Nations, become formally involved in all manner of legal and domestic issues, from guns to the Internet. Predictably, the OSCE and the ODIHR have found allies not only in the current Administration, but also among liberal groups operating in the private sector, including the discredited ACORN.

The best response to this institutionalized meddling in our electoral process – whether by some international bureaucracy, an organized labor group, or a black militant organization – is to follow the lead of the Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa Attorneys General, and put them on notice they will not only be unwelcome intruders in our elections, but will be prosecuted for thus interfering.