While sitting at my Obama booth on election day I was visited by the group the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy. I hope I got that name right. The ISFED observes elections around the world. The group consisted of a Dane, Swede, American and Georgian Ambassador Lasha Zhvania.
Amb. Zhvania was the only one of the group to talk to me. He seemed curious as to what my role was. When I told him I was a volunteer and I coordinated rides to and from the polls, he seemed satisfied. He was smoking while he was talking to me and he handed me his card. It’s impressive. At the top it says Parliament of Georgia and his title is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. You can view his wikipedia page here.
I’ll admit he was a little hard to read. He was very serious, so much so that I felt a need to perhaps rile him up a bit in a friendly way. I told him that it was an interesting flip to have observers for the American elections. Of course, anyone who reads this blog knows that I skeptical of both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Perhaps I was trying to get him back for his assumption that I didn’t know that Georgia was a country when he introduced himself. He started to say that he was not from the state in America when I said “oh yes, I know, home of Stalin.” He laughed. I think he was having a hard time reading me as well.
I asked him how the election was going based on his observations. He said that the provisional ballots were at a slightly high percentage. They were at 15%. I asked him what a good percentage would be and he said 5%. The whole group had finished their cigarettes by then and so they went away. It was an interesting part of the day.