Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2004 / 14 Tishrei 5765

Dan Abrams

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Consumer Reports

Florida is not a Third World nation in need of monitoring | I'm tired of hearing people compare the Florida election debacle of 2000 to the voting problems in third world or fledgling nations. It just detracts from the serious problem that did and do exist in our own voting system.

The latest salvo from former President Jimmy Carter in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post. While President Carter makes some important points about the continuing problems with Florida's voting procedures, he loses credibility by taking seriously those who said that his organization, The Carter Center, should observe the election in Florida the same way they did in Venezuela, Indonesia and Mozambique.

True, we may see a repeat of some of the problems in Florida. There are issues that should have been remedied years ago. But discussing the Florida election and Mozambique in the same sentence is just inflammatory and partisan silliness. When you make that kind of comparison, many like me are just going to tune out rather than focus on the real problems. I venture to say that if any voting system were scrutinized as closely as Florida in 2000, warts would appear.

Many other nations are dealing with voting systems covered in tumors. Remember those 13 Democrats in the House asked the U.N. to monitor the election the way the U.N. had many war-torn countries? That's not happening. And while there are some international organizations coming to watch the voting, Americans aren't going to stand for international monitors telling us how our election can or should be run.

No, Americans like President Carter should effort change, we need it. But when you throw in overstated comparisons to countries with massive voter problem, don't expect people to listen.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.



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