Since 1991, the United Nations has overseen elections across the globe, in troubled regions like Libya, Cambodia and ... Tennessee? After the Southern state passed a law requiring residents to show photo IDs to vote, the United Nations sent observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the 2012 presidential election in Tennessee.
Now, Tennessee lawmakers want to send a message that the United Nations isn’t welcome in its elections unless the U.S. Senate specifically requests their presence in the state.
According to Knox News, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Frank Niceley (R) barring United Nations observers from monitoring Tennessee elections has been approved by both houses of the Legislature and is now awaiting approval from Gov. Bill Haslam.
The text of the bill is exceedingly simple.
“Any representative of the United Nations appearing without a treaty ratified by the United States Senate stating that the United Nations can monitor elections in this state, shall not monitor elections in this state,” it reads in full.
In 2012, the OSCE sent 44 election monitoring officials across the country, including two from France and Armenia, to determine whether state photo ID requirements were affecting voter turnout, particularly among minorities. As the National Journal points out, Tennessee law allows residents to vote using a handgun carry permit, but not a college ID, prompting complaints from civil rights groups.
The intrusion of United Nations elections has been seen as an affront to the state’s sovereignty by Tea Party Republicans. The bill’s co-sponsor in the House, Rep. Micah Van Huss (R) believes that the United Nations and its affiliates have no authority to take part in United States elections.
“I don’t believe it’s their jurisdiction to monitor us,” Van Huss stated in a speech on the House floor, the Times Free Press reports.
The bill passed the Tennessee Senate 23-2 on Tuesday and 75-20 in the Tennessee House earlier.