Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a strongly worded letter warning United Nations-affiliated “elections monitors” that if they fail to obey state law by going in or even near a polling place, the UN-linked observers risk criminal prosecution and serious penalties. The international observers, he added, have absolutely no jurisdiction to interfere with voting in the Lone Star State.
The UN partner known as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) came under fierce criticism across the country in recent days after it announced plans to deploy “elections monitors” throughout the United States to observe the November election. Among other efforts, the international observers are being charged with seeking out conservative groups and jurisdictions allegedly engaged in “voter suppression” activities. Mostly, analysts say, the supposed concerns are about voter ID laws.
When news of the controversial scheme exploded and became a national scandal this week, activists slammed the organization and ridiculed its half-baked plans, as well as the far-left groups calling for international observers in the first place. Responding to the uproar, state Attorney General Abbott warned any monitors who are supposed to be deployed in Texas that they must follow state elections law. Otherwise, they could end up in jail.
“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” the state attorney general said in his letter to the organization’s mission chief, adding that elections and monitors, including OSCE representatives, are governed by the Texas Election Code.
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Photo: In this July 25, 2011 file photo, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott talks with the media as he leaves the Tom Green County Courthouse, in San Angelo, Texas: AP Images