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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

US violates voter rights—Conservatives charge Al Franken with voter fraud

A big stink is now being made by conservatives that Al Franken was elected US Senator by using convicted felons to vote. This is a totally ridiculous argument, but it not only shows the Republicans dishonesty about their election losses, it exposes their prejudices against anyone who would vote against them.
Consider this article from;

Felons Voting Illegally May Have Put Franken Over the Top in Minnesota, Study Finds

The six-month election recount that turned former "Saturday Night Live" comedian Al Franken into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota's Twin Cities. 
That's the finding of an 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority, a conservative watchdog group, which found that at least 341 convicted felons in largely Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race between Franken, a Democrat, and his Republican opponent, then-incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman. 
This may sound ridiculous but for conservatives this is a real issue of voter fraud and the idea that Franken is not really elected. Franken won with 312 votes. The article continues;

The report said that in Hennepin County, which in includes Minneapolis, 899 suspected felons had been matched on the county's voting records, and the review showed 289 voters were conclusively matched to felon records. The report says only three people in the county have been charged with voter fraud so far. 
They even complained that people charged, but not yet convicted were voting. This is not the only example of such an article. From Media Matters;

Not only is it a ridiculous waist of time to check for felons voting, the US law against them voting is in violation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is a document that the united states voted for in 1948. In this document are a number of guaranties that countries are encouraged to adopt, such as universal voting rights. The US is in violation of this document.

In this document;
“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21

One of the most critical ways that individuals can influence governmental decision-making is through voting. Voting is a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue. Voting generally takes place in the context of a large-scale national or regional election, however, local and small-scale community elections can be just as critical to individual participation in government.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 21 states:
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.

The role that periodic, free elections play in ensuring respect for political rights also is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and many other international human rights documents.

While the right to vote is widely recognized as a fundamental human right, this right is not fully enforced for millions of individuals around the world. Consistently disenfranchised groups include non-citizens, young people, minorities, those who commit crimes, the homeless, disabled persons, and many others who lack access to the vote for a variety of reasons including poverty, illiteracy, intimidation, or unfair election processes. An important force in combating disenfranchisement is the growth of organizations engaged in election monitoring. Around the world, governments struggle to meet the challenge of the Universal Declaration related to free and fair elections. Election monitoring groups, ranging from local or party monitors to United Nations teams, assist governments and local groups to hold free and fair elections by observing the process from the beginning (voter education, candidate campaigns, planning for the ballot) to the end vote count. By declaring an election ‘free and fair’ monitors can legitimize the outcome of that election. Conversely, by not doing so, legitimacy is withheld. The question of whether or not to grant legitimacy to election results is complicated by political considerations, as the results of declaring elections ‘not free nor fair’ can be serious. Riots and even civil war can break out.

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