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U.N. election observers were amazed at U.S. voting system

Waiting for election results from around the city, county, state and the rest of the nation was not unlike a child waiting for Christmas morning to arrive.

To pass the time while waiting for final vote totals, an order went out for a party-size Rafferty’s pizza, bags of candy left over from Halloween were torn open for those craving munchies, and for the coffee drinkers in the office a carafe of high test provided by Grab-A-Java, which kept the staff rolling and engaged until after 1 a.m.

During one of the lulls in the action, I had the chance to read Foreign Policy Magazine, with a Nov. 6, 2012 publication date that captured the comments of the controversial United Nations’ foreign observers watching over our elections process.

“It’s an incredible system,” said Nuri K. Elabbar, who traveled to the United States along with election officials from more than 60 countries to observe today’s presidential elections as part of a program run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). “Your humble cable guy visited polling places with some of the international officials this morning. Most of them agreed that in their countries, such an open voting system simply would not work.”

What else caught the attention of these foreign election observers?

Provisional ballots were puzzling to the international observers. These foreign election officials also noted that U.S. voters needed no identification.

Voters (in the U.S.) can also vote by mail, sometimes online, and there’s often no way to know if one person has voted several times under different names, unlike in some Arab countries, where voters ink their fingers when casting their ballots, one observer noted.

It’s interesting that these guests in the U.S. for our national election brought up some observations that many in the U.S. are concerned about, such as voter identification, which was on the Minnesota ballot and soundly defeated.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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