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by on October 25, 2012

Texas AG Tells International Election Monitors to Butt Out

Gregg AbbottTexas Attorney General Greg Abbott has warned the OSCE that its observers risk criminal prosecution if they approach polling stations in the state. (AP Photo/File)

( – The head of an international body that will monitor the U.S. elections next month protested to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday after Texas’ attorney-general warned that any international observer who approaches a polling station in the state risks criminal prosecution.

“The threat of criminal sanctions … is unacceptable,” said Janez Lenarcic, the Slovenian diplomat who heads the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), a part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

“Every American should be outraged by this news,” Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, declared on Monday.

International monitoring of elections is “usually reserved for third-world countries, banana republics and fledgling democracies,” he said. “The only ones who should ever oversee American elections are Americans.”


In his letter to the ODIHR, Texas AG Abbott cited that element of the mission.

“The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional,” he wrote.

“If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections,” he continued. “However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”



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