- WASHINGTON (AFP) - Several
members of the House of Representatives have requested the United Nations
(news - web sites) to send observers to monitor the November 2 US presidential
election to avoid a contentious vote like in 2000, when the outcome was
decided by Florida.
- Recalling the long, drawn out process in the southern
state, nine lawmakers, including four blacks and one Hispanic, sent a letter
Thursday to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) asking that
the international body "ensure free and fair elections in America,"
according to a statement issued by Florida representative Eddie Bernice
Johnson, who spearheaded the effort.
"As lawmakers, we must assure the people of America that our nation
will not experience the nightmare of the 2000 presidential election,"
she said in the letter.
- "This is the first step in making sure that history
does not repeat itself," she added after requesting that the UN "deploy
election observers across the United States" to monitor the November,
- The lawmakers said in the letter that in a report released
in June 2001, the US Commission on Civil Rights "found that the electoral
process in Florida resulted in the denial of the right to vote for countless
persons."The bipartisan commission, they stressed, determined "that
the 'disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders
of black voters' and in poor counties." Both groups vote predominantly
Democratic in US elections.
- The commission also concluded, the lawmakers added, that
"despite promised nationwide reforms (of the voting system) ... adequate
steps have not been taken to ensure that a similar situation will not arise
in 2004 that arose in 2000."Thirty-six days after the November 7,
2000 presidential election, after several state court interventions and
vote recounts in numerous Florida counties, the US Supreme Court ruled
in favor of Republican George W. Bush, awarding him all of Florida's 25
- The ruling tipped the balance against Democratic contender
and then vice president Al Gore (news - web sites), who with 267 electoral
votes lost to Bush's 271, only one more than the minimum 270 needed to
clinch the presidential election.