News Release

International Election Monitors Arrive in the U.S.


Dr. Brigalia Bam is the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa. She is the former General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. She said today: “We are civic leaders, parliamentarians, diplomats, academics, electoral officials, journalists, and veteran election monitors. We come from 15 countries on all five continents. We have worked for decades in our home countries to reform our electoral systems, to make them more responsive, more open, and more fair. We have been invited by the U.S. non-governmental organization Global Exchange with the aim of assisting Americans in the effort to increase confidence in the electoral process. … Our experience in dozens of countries around the world has shown that the presence of non-partisan, non-governmental observers from other countries can help ensure fair and transparent elections and build trust in democratic processes. … Through sharing with Americans the democratic innovations and advances occurring around the world, we hope to bring to light the best practices that may benefit the U.S. political system.”
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Jason Mark works with Fair Election, a project of Global Exchange. He said today: “Electoral experts from 14 countries will arrive in the United States this week to begin an unprecedented international monitoring of the U.S. elections. The 20-person team consists of distinguished pro-democracy advocates who have spent much of their lives creating and improving electoral systems in their home countries. The electoral observers will spend two weeks in the U.S. investigating controversies that appear to be undermining public faith in the U.S. political process. … The pre-electoral fact-finding team will spend four days in Washington, D.C. … The delegation will then split into five groups to conduct further investigations in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio. In those states the monitors will meet with secretaries of state, hear from county voting registrars, talk with community organizations, observe voter registration drives, and hold town hall meetings to get a full picture of American democracy.”

Other members of the delegation include the following:

* Oscar Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez received the UNESCO Award for Human Rights in 2002, and he has been president of the Mexican Academy of Human Rights (1997-2002).

* Pansy Tlakula. She is chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa, a position that makes her the overall head of elections in the country.

* Terence Humphreys. He is currently the Chief Executive of Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS), where he provides overall direction for all ERIS programs worldwide.

* Ms. Somsri Hananuntasuk. She is the Executive Director for Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and has extensive experiences in election monitoring in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam.

* David MacDonald. MacDonald is a former Minister of Communications of the Canadian Parliament. He served as a Conservative under the Pearson, Trudeau, and Clark governments from 1965 to 1980.

* Victoria Somers. Ms. Somers has observed elections in South Africa, Bosnia, Tanzania, Kosovo and Sri Lanka on behalf of the Irish Government, United Nations and European Union.

* Damaso Guerrero Magbual. He is a member of the National Council and concurrently Chairman of the National Capital Region and Deputy Secretary General for the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), which was the very first election monitoring organization in Asia.

* K.J. Rao. Mr. Rao is currently the Elections and Training Advisor to the Election Commission of India.

* Shanta Martin. She is an international legal advisor currently working for the Commission for the Verification of Codes of Conduct (COVERCO) in Guatemala.

* Horacio Boneo. Since 2000, Boneo has served as a consultant on issues of democratic governance and elections for the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Swedish International Development Agency, the National Democratic Institute, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, as well as a visiting professor at the Universidad Nacional de San Martin.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167