Steve Clarke Represents the Socialist Party at Palm Springs Delegation of Foreign Election Observers

On Wednesday evening, I was invited to participate in weekend activities here in Palm Springs and the Desert Cities involving a delegation of foreign election observers. “The program is intended to allow election commission staff and commissioners, political and party members, democracy activists, members of civil society , etc. from outside the U.S with an opportunity to witness the many facets of of citizen involvement that contributes to the vibrancy of U.S. elections.” The organization is also concerned with how persons with disabilities (physical, mental, and otherwise) participate in our American, electoral process.

Because the delegates will be coming from Bosnia and Mexico (nations where there are multiple and/or alternative political parties, the organization’s founder, Foster Tucker, wished to have members of alternative parties living in Riverside County participate — such as Green Party, PFP, and others. I was referred to Mr. Tucker by friends in Equality California and Desert Stonewall Democrats; he was not even aware that there was an active, socialist party in California and in Riverside County. To date, I’m the only member of one of the parties he contacted to return his call: he’s had no response from Kevin Akin, Casey Peters, or anyone from the Green Party.

The delegates will be here from Friday, Nov. 2nd – Monday, Nov. 5th, meeting with mayors and city clerks of the Desert Cities and participating several workshops here. Because of my professional involvement in human rights and humans services work in Chicago, and my activism as a socialist here in the Valley, I’ve been asked to be available to offer comments and observations at one or more of the workshops. The delegation will then end their visit by traveling to Riverside, where they will observe the actual voting process on Election Day at several polls, and join in ‘celebrations’ of the winning candidates that evening.

There will be roughly 25 members of this election observer group, primarily from Mexico and Bosnia. I feel very honored to have been asked to participate, and am excited to have the opportunity to do so. The sponsoring organization is in the midst of drafting a treaty to be presented to the United Nations for consideration, outlining universal guidelines for assuring that persons around the globe will be assured every possibility to participate in the democratic, electoral process, including those with disabilities which, in some nations, preclude them from participating in the democratic, electoral process: an example he gave me was parts of the Philippines where, because of continuing ignorance and prejudice about leprosy, persons suffering with this disease are not permitted to vote; or places in the U.S. where there is no adequate monitoring of the ability of persons in care facilities for the aged and infirm to participate in the voting process.

I’m honored, and excited, to be afforded the opportunity of representing the Socialist Party of California in this endeavor.

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