Tennessee Wants to Ban the U.N. From Monitoring Its Elections

It's payback for 2012.

Flags fly over United Nations headquarters August 14, 2003 in New York City. (National Journal)

When you think of the type of countries the United Nations might want to keep an eye on, you probably think of, say, Libya, whose citizens voted for the first time in over 40 years in 2012.

But newly democratized countries aren't the only subjects of U.N. election oversight. In 2012, civil-rights groups voiced their concern to the U.N. that state voter-ID laws would lead to voter suppression. The U.N. sent 44 of its election monitors to states — including Tennessee — and drew much ire from conservative groups in the process.

Now, the Republican-controlled Legislature in Tennessee is fighting back against the international governing body. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill banning U.N. elections monitors from overseeing state elections — unless they have express permission from the U.S. Senate to be there.

The legislation now sits on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's desk, waiting to be signed. "The governor will review the bill in its final form, like he does all bills, before taking any action on it," a spokesman for Haslam said.

From Knox News:

House sponsor Rep. Micah Van Huss characterized the measure as an assertion of the state and nation's sovereignty. Van Huss said he was upset that a United Nations affiliate organization sent two representatives — one from France and one from Armenia — to monitor Tennessee elections in 2012 because the state had enacted a law requiring a photo identification for voting.

The bill, which is one sentence long, reads: "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."

In Tennessee, you can use a handgun carry permit to vote, but not a college student ID. And no nosy Frenchman is going to change that.

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