The Washington Times - October 22, 2008, 02:04PM

Don’t be surprised if you see a couple of curious nonvoting foreigners at your polling station when you go to cast your ballot on Nov. 4.

The State Department has invited 100 current and future leaders from 76 countries to be election observers. They have been “handpicked” by the U.S. ambassador in their respective country, the department said Wednesday. They arrive Sunday and will visit various parts of the United States through Nov. 8.


These emerging leaders, aged 30-50, who are involved in promoting democracy in their countries, will observe the  U.S. political system during the final countdown to Election Day 2008,” the department said.

In addition to Washington, it said, the guests will visit “battleground or swing states,” including Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio.

On Election Day, they “will travel in teams of two” to follow “activities in 50 other U.S. communities, to observe voting and engage informally with voters.” In the evening, they will attend “social events to witness victory and concession speeches alongside members of their host communities.”

“On Nov. 5, the election fellows will reunite in Boston, for a symposium at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, to analyze the outcomes and ramifications of the presidential and congressional election as well as to share their program experiences and insights,” the State Department said.

— Nicholas Kralev, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Times