However, I have lately learned that there will be international observers at some of our polling places, and that there have been observers of our elections since 2002. That has some Americans very unhappy. But it makes me very happy.
Dear Carter Center staff:
Please oversee the US general election on November 6. As I see it, there are at least four troubling situations in US elections. I'm sure you are already aware of these but, just in case you are not, here they are:
First, almost half of our states have instituted new voting laws. These are stated attempts to stop voter fraud, but instead they seem to be aimed at disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House, Mike Turzai, said as much when he told a group of Republicans that the voter ID law would allow Mitt Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.
The law has been challenged in Pennsylvania courts, adding even more confusion. The latest court decision was delivered on October 2, little more than a month before the upcoming elections. The judge imposed a temporary injunction against requiring IDs. The decision allows poll workers to ask for IDs, but then allow voters to vote if they don't have the required ID. It also allows the state to continue running its ads claiming that IDs are required. Some county election offices were slow to correct their counties' web sites and telephone recordings. The ads and incorrect wording are confusing to voters. How many voters will believe that the new law is in effect and will just stay away from the polls on November 6 because they haven't been able to get the required ID?
Second is the number of states who have purged voter rolls this year. Non-governmental organizations have alleged irregularities and even state governments have purged voter rolls via various mechanisms. Somehow it seems that the purged voters are those who could be considered to be Democratic-leaning.
Third is that organizations such as True The Vote plan to have members in place at polling places. Their purpose is to challenge voters whom they suspect are not entitled to vote. Could some who dislike or fear confrontation, when they hear that these challengers are present, turn around and leave without voting?
Fourth is electronic voting machines. University research and the organization Black Box Voting have shown how easily these machines can be hacked. Additionally, there is no paper trail. If an election is contested, there is simply no way to recount the votes. For decades, television networks have conducted exit polls to help them determine a projected winner in a state. These projections have been accurate until the 2000 election. I won't go into the irregularities in that election. However, in 2004, after electronic voting machines had been implemented, the projections for the winning candidate for the presidency were "wrong" in Ohio, a hotly-contested "swing state." There were allegations of irregularities in Ohio counties after the polls had closed. But, of course, there was no way to recount.
I beg you to observe and validate our elections. If this is not possible politically, is there another organization that could do such a thing?
Pamela L. Nolan