By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Perhaps expressing fears that Republican election officials could not be trusted to conduct this election properly and fairly, President Barack H. Obama asked that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send election observers to monitor the 2012 election on Tuesday.
U.S. Political Counselor Christopher Robinson wrote the organization, “On behalf of the United States Government, I want to take this opportunity before the Permanent Council to extend an invitation to the OSCE participating States to observe these elections. We welcome observation of American elections, and we have sent letters of invitation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. We have also invited ODIHR to conduct a Needs Assessment Mission in the United States in preparation for a possible OSCE observation mission. Within the U.S. federal system, the responsibility for organizing elections rests with state and local governments. The Department of State will therefore facilitate the Needs Assessment Mission and election observation mission, and assist ODIHR in its efforts to contact elections officials throughout the United States in connection with its organization of elections observation. The United States values the OSCE’s important work, in particular its election observation efforts, in promoting free and fair elections throughout the OSCE space, from “Vancouver to Vladivostok.” We welcome the presence of OSCE observers as an opportunity to demonstrate the United States’ dedication to fulfilling its OSCE commitments.”
According to original reporting by Cliff Sims from the conservative blog, Yellow Hammer Politics, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) has sent a delegation to Alabama to oversee and monitor the Alabama elections. OSCE representatives have said they will be “watching everything and everyone” in Alabama on election day.
Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman (R) said in a written statement on Monday, “They may believe that they are going to be watching ‘everything and everyone’ on Tuesday, but the truth of the matter is, they will be watching what they can from at least 30 feet behind the doors of a polling place. Anyone who sees otherwise should call our office immediately.” The OSCE observation teams being deployed in Alabama include citizens of Kazakhstan, France, Germany, Belarus, the Ukraine, Serbia, and other countries.
Secretary Chapman said that only qualified electors in Alabama can be appointed as poll watchers and workers and no other watchers are to be inside the polling place on Election Day. Sec. Chapman said, “The visitors will definitely not be allowed inside polling locations on Election Day and will have absolutely no direct involvement with the voting process.”
The Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn said, ““The United States is the worldwide beacon of free elections and the Republican form of government, so having an international squad from the United Nations playing referee in our elections is insulting and absurd,” Hubbard said. “We’ve been holding elections in the U.S. for the past 223 years without the United Nations playing a role or enforcing the rules, and we certainly don’t want or need them now.”
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) is not directly affiliated with the United Nations, though they are being widely referred to as “U.N. affiliates”.
Secretary of State Beth Chapman asks that anyone in any polling place who is approached by or observes anybody from the OSCE please report that to the Secretary of State’s hotline. That number is 1-800-274-VOTE.