OSCE to Track U.S. Presidential Election

Boston Globe (Bloomberg) – Citing 2000 dispute, OSCE to track US presidential vote

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe plans to observe the US presidential election this year, concerned by the disputed results in 2000, a spokeswoman said. OSCE members, which include the United States, agreed in 1990 to invite the group to observe their elections. This would be the first invitation to a US presidential election the OSCE accepts, spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said.

The agency observed the 2002 congressional election and reported that many of the problems found in the 2000 vote were fixed. US elections officials “succeeded somewhat, but not entirely” in correcting problems encountered in the election of President George W. Bush four years ago, Gunnarsdottir said. The OSCE consists of 55 countries in Europe, Central Asia, and North America working on security-related issues. OSCE representatives will visit the United States in September to plan their mission, including whether to include enough observers to allow an immediate postelection assessment, Gunnarsdottir said. The OSCE issued its report on the 2002 elections more than two months after the voting.

The US House of Representatives last month approved an amendment to its version of the federal budget bill barring the United States from requesting United Nations observers of US elections. Democrats, including Representative Corrine Brown of Florida, called for UN observers after the disputed results of the 2000 presidential election in her home state. The US State Department said it welcomed the OSCE’s decision to send a team and denied it meant the fairness of the upcoming US election was in doubt. “This is not a question of whether there’s a free and fair election in the United States,” State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said. “This is a question of an agreement among all states of the OSCE that it is right and appropriate, in the interest of transparency and equity, for all of us at various times to look at each other’s elections.” The OSCE observed the gubernatorial election in California last year, the State Department said. Other leading industrial nations also have hosted OSCE election observers in recent years, including Britain and France.

You have GOT to be kidding me. We’re not some Third World banana republic. The idea of foreign busybodies “monitoring” our elections is outrageous. The United States has more experience running successful elections than virtually all the OSCE members combined.

I know we’re busy reforming our intelligence community. While we’re at it, it’s high time someone looked at the State Department.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. James,

    I was saying the same thing on Sunday. By allowing this monitoring, the Bush Administration is playing right into the Democrats’ hands – no matter who wins the election.

  2. Joseph Marshall says:

    I had the pleasure the other night of watching Howard Dean on CNBC being shown how to rig the results from the new “paperless” Deibold voting machines from a central computer in 90 seconds.

    All it required was the password and the knowledge of how to manipulate a spread sheet.

    Anyone who doesn’t think our “free and fair” electoral process is in grave danger is a fool.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    They monitored the 2002 elections and the 2003 CA governor’s race. Don’t see any harm that came from that.

  4. Paul says:

    I know we’re busy reforming our intelligence community. While we’re at it, it’s high time someone looked at the State Department.


  5. Some Democrats in Congress want to score cheap political points and the namby-pambies in the State Dept. go along with it.

    This sullies our democracy by suggesting that a 215 year-old unbroken record of holding national elections fairly (and that includes 2000) is somehow not enough. What stake do these so-called inspectors have in a fair outcome? Are the Americans? Sometimes one wonders if the only reason Democrats manage to fool people so much of the time is they get the Republicans to do it for them.

  6. Bithead says:

    I’m already on record as opposing this, since the OSCE will clearly be biased away from the right.

    But, let’s examine this from this angle…

    What happens if even under this increased, and arguably biased scrutiny, Bush wins?

  7. Bithead,

    Not to shamelessly self-promote, but read what I wrote here

  8. Bithead says:

    Fine, Mike, but again… let’s say he wins it cleanly.

    Which, I think he will now, given this Cambodian bit.

    What happens when the Democrats cannot justafiably claim any kind of problem, and he still wins? Seems to me such a loss would be doubly hard for them to swallow… the resulting choking and wrecthing sounds would be worth the time and trouble it took to set up.

  9. Bithead,

    That’s my point, I think. It doesn’t matter by how much Bush wins. If there are any discrepancies, no matter how small, they can claim that Bush tried to steal the election.

    You know how it is!

  10. Bithead says:

    Yes… I do… which is why I used the word “justafiably “.

  11. Attila Girl says:

    They are going to say it anyway. Even if it’s a landslide for Bush, it’ll be another “stolen” election. Guaranteed.

  12. J Thomas says:

    We have nothing to hide in our elections, so what harm does it do to have them observed?

    If we can’t trust them to report our elections accurately we need to get them reformed before they go observe other people’s elections.