There’s been a bit of a tempest in a teapot recently about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sending monitors to watch this year’s presidential election. The Attorney General in Texas has said that the OSCE monitors will face prosecution if they interfere with the election. That hasn’t gone down well with the OSCE, which says that the U.S. has an obligation to allow monitors to observe the election.
Interestingly, the NAACP sent a letter to the head of the monitoring team urging the OSCE to place monitors in states — including Ohio — where the NAACP believes that voting ID laws and early voting restrictions have been adopted. The letter urged that “monitors should be particularly vigilant about requests for, and acceptance of, identification of those seeking to vote, particularly if certain groups, such as racial minorities and young voters, are being targeted.” The NAACP thinks that “election observation helps to improve our citizens’ trust and confidence in election results.”
Apparently the OSCE has been monitoring U.S. elections since 2002. Who knew? I’m sure that, like the NAACP, all Americans now feel a tremendous sense of comfort that foreign observers from well-established democratic bastions like Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are keeping an eye on those nefarious blue-haired ladies who staff our polling places. Countries with such strong democratic traditions no doubt have a lot to teach the nation that is the oldest, and most successful, functioning democracy on Earth.
I don’t think we should threaten the OSCE observers with prosecution, of course, but let’s not kid ourselves: representatives of other countries should be coming here to learn how free and fair elections are held, not to judge whether our processes stack up to whatever odd standards have been devised in the bureaucratic depths of an organization like the OSCE. And, if the OSCE is one of those organizations that is largely funded by U.S. tax dollars, don’t expect us to pay for the useful education that the OSCE representatives will receive.