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.
“Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law,” Abbot concluded.
Even before making the letter public, Abbot was already warning the self-styled “elections” monitors that any unlawful antics would not be tolerated in his state. “UN poll watchers can't interfere w/ Texas elections,” he tweeted before releasing the full letter. “I'll bring criminal charges if needed.” The attorney general closed his message on Twitter with the words “Come and Take It,” a famous battle cry from 1835 when Mexican officials tried to disarm rebellious Texan settlers. A later post said: "My message to UN related poll watchers: Don't Mess with Texas Elections!"
The Lone Star State’s top law enforcement officer also criticized the OSCE for listening to a radical splinter group affiliated with the tax-funded, Obama-linked organization ACORN, “which collapsed in disgrace after its role in a widespread voter-registration fraud scheme was uncovered,” he wrote in the letter. Earlier this year, the international organization reportedly met with a coalition of activist groups, including Project Vote, challenging efforts in Texas to bring integrity to elections.
Those activists expressed concerns about efforts to prevent vote fraud being used to “disenfranchise” people who were for some reason incapable of procuring an ID. In meetings and a letter to OSCE, the organizations — groups such as the ACLU and the NAACP — claimed there was a “coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”
The coalition asked the OSCE to follow up on the charges and keep an eye on conservatives. Apparently oblivious to reality, the OSCE promised that it would do so. But in Texas, at least, that will probably not be happening, at least in terms of questioning laws requiring voters to present identification prior to voting.
“In September, a federal appeals court rejected Project Vote’s challenge to the State’s voter-registration regulations and allowed Texas to continue enforcing laws that were enacted to protect the integrity of the voter-registration process,” Abbot explained in the letter. “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.”
The dozens of elections monitors being deployed in the United States come from countries such as Russia, Serbia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and others — more than a few of which are ruled by tyrants famous for brazenly fraudulent elections and wanton human rights abuses. The irony, of course, has not escaped critics or the Texas attorney general.
“It remains unclear exactly what your monitoring is intended to achieve, or precisely what tactics you will use to achieve the proposed monitoring,” Abbot remarked in the letter, suggesting that OSCE members might actually learn something by observing American elections. The OSCE, for its part, has offered vague comments about what the alleged purpose of its observer mission actually is.
According to a statement released by the organization online, the observers will be in America to “assess” the elections “for compliance with international obligations and standards.” The mission will also supposedly “analyze the legislative framework and its implementation” while following campaign activities, the administration of elections, voter registration, and the “resolution” of election disputes, the OSCE added.
On top of that, the monitors will be looking for alleged conservative “voter suppression” schemes, which critics say are largely the product of wild imaginations. Still, Abbott graciously offered to help OSCE governments learn how to conduct proper elections in their own countries; elections in nations such as OSCE member Belarus, for example, a nation ruled by a brutal communist dictator, have essentially become punch lines around the world.
“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 explained without directly referencing the widespread problems found among many OSCE member governments. “However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”
The attorney general also took the opportunity to briefly remind OSCE officials about election safeguards and laws used in Texas. “This State has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system,” he wrote. “All persons — including persons connected with OSCE — are required to comply with these laws.”
Analysts praised the Texas attorney general and the state in general for standing up to international organizations and far-left fringe groups seeking to involve self-styled global “authorities” in U.S. elections. While a few states have laws specifically authorizing international elections monitors, legal questions about the OSCE’s dubious “mission” continue to be raised.
“These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations,” explained President Catherine Engelbrecht with True the Vote, a Texas-based citizen-led effort to restore the integrity of U.S. elections by preventing fraud. “The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections.”
Despite the furor that erupted this year, the OSCE claims to have been monitoring U.S. elections for the last decade. The mission this year will be led by Dutch diplomat and former leader with various UN organs Daan W. Everts. It will be conducted under the auspices of the OSCE “Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.”
There have, of course, been quite a few legitimate concerns about the integrity of U.S. elections raised in recent years — dead people and illegal immigrants voting, massive ACORN voter-registration fraud, dubious electronic voting machines that are easy to compromise, and much more. Ironically, perhaps, many of the groups seeking UN elections supervision in America have themselves been caught up in voting fraud scandals.
Still, the notion that American states would need help from the OSCE or any other international organization — especially one affiliated with the UN, which analysts refer to as the “dictators’ club” — has been described by critics as ludicrous and comical. State lawmakers should indeed use constitutional means to ensure the integrity of elections. If anything, however, the OSCE monitors would be well served simply taking notes and insisting on fair elections back home.
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
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