The GOP-led Tennessee Legislature has voted to block United Nations elections monitors from observing any future elections in the State, a reaction against a 2012 episode in which civil rights advocates successfully lobbied for U.N. oversight of the voting process in a number of U.S. States.
The Tennessee Senate passed the measure Tuesday on a 23-2 vote, approving a piece of legislation which forbids “[a]ny 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” from gaining access to polling places anywhere in the Volunteer State.
The Tennessee House of Representatives had already approved its version of the bill on a 75-20 vote. The measure now awaits Republican Governor Bill Haslam’s signature.
During the 2012 election cycle, a number of States came under fire from progressive groups critical of new voter ID laws, which opponents claimed would disenfranchise or suppress voting among minorities and the poor. That led to a campaign to involve U.N.-backed elections monitors in the oversight process – a move which conservative lawmakers in Tennessee and other affected States vehemently opposed.
In all, 44 U.N. elections monitors found their way into State polling places nationwide during the 2012 cycle.