December 12th Movement calls for international election observers

Juneteenth 2020 rally on Wall Street led by December 12th Movement.

The December 12th Movement International Secretariat boldly calls on the United Nations for the immediate deployment of international observers to monitor the 2020 United States presidential elections. We make this demand to alert the international community and U.S. voters that their right to vote and for their votes to be counted has been challenged by the president of the United States.

This is an important national issue that will affect the world community going forward. Therefore, our presidential election should undergo the same international scrutiny that this president has used in condemning and challenging the validity of other countries’ elections for far less inflammatory speech and concrete actions (dismantling of USPS and mobilization of “Proud Boys”) than taken up by himself. 

The continued political division of the United States into Red States/Blue States in particular targets Black people for disenfranchisement. Therefore, we demand that the Congressional Black Caucus join this call for international observers to monitor these presidential elections.

The letter to the secretary general of the United Nations and copies to additional international organizations have been delivered and we encourage all who unite with this demand to join our efforts.

Following is the text of the letter:

October 8, 2020

H.E. Sr. Antonio Guterres
Secretary General
United Nations
405 E. 42nd Street
New York, NY  10017

Re: Request for International Observers at U.S. 2020 Elections

Secretary General Guterres:

We are writing to request the presence of a substantial delegation of “international” observers at the U.S. 2020 presidential election.

President Donald Trump and members of his Republican Party have made it clear, through word and deed, that they intend to ensure his re-election through voter suppression and racial intimidation. The tactics are many and varied and publicly documented. Most ominously, President Trump has refused to commit himself to surrender the presidency should he lose the election. International observers are crucial to assuming that the elections are being held freely and fairly.

The U.S. has a long history of denying the vote to its “minorities,” particularly to its Black population. It took 100 years after Black people freed themselves from chattel slavery before the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided the legal protection for them to vote free of discrimination. Over the next 48 years, Black people, often at the cost of their lives, exercised their right to vote but still faced obstacles in doing so. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court basically overturned the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder. Since that decision, more and more barriers have been successfully placed in the paths of Black voters who have been the bulwark of the Democratic Party.

We understand that the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has reduced its original observer team from 500 to 30 members to monitor the election. We are proposing that the Security Council and/or the General Assembly invite observer teams from the African Union and CARICOM.

Time is short and of the essence. This is not a partisan request. We are international NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council). The U.S. is facing an existential threat to democracy. Trump’s call for the ultranationalist and violent white supremacist Proud Boys gang to “stand back and stand by” and for white supremacists to go to the voting polls, echoes the master race rhetoric which led to Hitler’s election in 1930s Germany. We ask that you exercise all the powers of your office to ensure the substantial presence of truly international observers at this crucial election.

Viola Plummer
Chair, December 12th Movement International Secretariat

Roger Wareham
International Secretary General, International Association Against Torture