Over the past several years (and at least once on this very blog) I have talked about how I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the upcoming elections if they were being monitored by the UN. The current administration has proven over and over again that it will lie and cheat to get its way. Considering the problems with the last election, why should we expect this one to be any different? And indeed, it’d probably be easier for them this time, with all the implements of state power under their control, not to mention the lack of a paper trail with all the new electronic voting machines.
A few weeks back, I wondered how exactly one would get the UN involved. So I went and poked around the UN website for a while (I had never been there, it’s actually rather interesting) and found the area about election monitoring. The rule seemed to be that a UN member state must request assistance for monitors to come on in. Since there was an e-mail address for the responsible department, I decided to drop them a linr and inquire. I wrote:
This may seem like a strange question, but is there any way to get the UN to send international observers to cover the American presidential election in November without the US government requesting it? The 2000 elections were botched so badly that many people don’t have faith that the results of the coming election are going to be fair, especially considering that the owners of the companies that make the e-voting machines are outspoken Republicans. I’m sure the Bush administration would howl with outrage, but I’m at least one American who would feel a lot better if the eyes of the world were watching this process closely.
Three weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything back. Knowing how customer service can be, I figured that was that. Today, I actually got a response. They wrote:
I regret to inform you that the UN is unable to send observers without an official request from the Member State.
Thank you for your interest in our work!
Ah well. It was worth a try and at least the UN answers its e-mail. I wonder if a petition for UN monitors would do any good. I’m sure the administration would never ever make the request, but perhaps the fact that citizens of a country that’s supposedly schools others in democracy would feel the need for this kind of intervention could be worth something as we lead up to the election.