- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2004

In less than two months, Americans go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States and members of Congress. In some states and localities, voters will also choose their governors, state representatives, mayors, council members and school boards.

It will be a historic election because, for the first time, this republic’s presidential election will be monitored by representatives from foreign nations as if this were a Third World country.

Though the United States is the greatest example of representative democracy the world has ever seen, some federal officials, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, believe foreigners are more qualified to police our elections than our own countrymen.

This cast of pathetic patriots is led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Democrat, who, with 10 of her House colleagues, sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan — on the eve of this nation’s 228th birthday — demanding he dispatch election observers from the scandal-ridden United Nations. “International oversight is critical in this election,” they insisted, arguing “international election monitors” could help prevent “questionable practices and voter disenfranchisement.”

Liberals decry the influence of so-called 527 organizations and “big money” in politics. But they welcome adjudicants from countries like Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Haiti, Cuba or communist China fanning out to battleground states to ensure free and fair elections.

Unfortunately for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Kofi Annan rejected her request on a technicality. (In fact, he would be happy to send election monitors if requested by the executive branch of government.) But that didn’t stop Ms. Johnson and her globalist friends. They simply changed the salutation on their letter, fired it off to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and presto — international election monitors will be watching over your shoulder when you cast your vote on Nov. 2.

Clearly, somebody over at Foggy Bottom misread the Constitution. It is the “states,” not the “State Department” by which our federal elections are run.

But the heck with the Founding Fathers. This was a great excuse to score Brownie points from the “international community.” Therefore, invitations immediately were sent to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send a crack team of French, German or Bulgarian poll watchers. After all, they are more qualified than yokels in Macomb County, Mich., or Dade County, Fla., to police U.S. elections.

And at least some of those who will monitor our elections can boast only a brief, and dubious, rendezvous with democracy. In certain OSCE countries, elections are corrupted and far from democratic. In Bosnia, the State Department observed intimidation of prospective voters and incomplete voter registers. In Tajikistan, President Emomali Rakhmonov and cohorts continue gaining power in elections the State Department dubbed as “neither free nor fair.” In Turkmenistan, President Saparmurat Niyazov, a former Communist Party leader, has held office since 1990 and in 1999 was appointed president for life.

Ignoring the obvious inexperience of many OSCE member-states to monitor U.S. elections, Rep. Johnson glibly applauded the State Department decision: “The presence of monitors will assure Americans that America cares about their votes.”

Clearly, one motivation of Ms. Johnson and her colleagues is to increase (if that’s possible) anti-Bush sentiment among the Democrat base. Motivating your political base and taking a few shots at the other guy is part of the American electoral process. But spreading conspiracy theories that an election was “stolen” and no institution of American government is capable of fairly monitoring election results is unworthy of a member of the House of Representatives.

Since the Florida aberrations in 2000, a nationwide election came — and went — in which a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives was chosen in undisputedly free and fair elections. In October 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft unveiled the Voting Access and Integrity Initiative, pledging the Justice Department would prosecute any election fraud more vigorously than ever.

But that is not enough for Eddie Bernice Johnson. Still bitter from the Democrats’ loss in 2000, she and her colleagues are willing to sell U.S. sovereignty for petty electoral gains.

In their petition to Mr. Annan, the nine members of Congress hardly hid their scorn for the government system set up by the U.S. Constitution: “The [2000] election was finally determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, which prevented further counting of the votes in what has been widely criticized as one of the most politicized and improper decisions in U.S. jurisprudence.”

But it was good enough for Al Gore, who on Dec. 13, 2000, said, “I accept the finality of [the Supreme Court’s decision] which will be ratified… in the Electoral College.”

What institution does Ms. Johnson believe America should trust for the “finality” of complex legal questions? The International Court of Justice? The International Criminal Court? The U.N. Security Council? The International Olympic Committee?

Because we have taken the unprecedented step of allowing foreigners to monitor our polls, the upcoming election is about more than whether a Republican or a Democrat can better govern this country. It is about whether we as Americans can govern ourselves. There is a point when partisanship must yield to patriotism. Unfortunately, Eddie Bernice Johnson and her colleagues don’t seem to understand that.

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Alliance, a foundation dedicated to preserving U.S. sovereignty.

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