Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, issued a stern warning this week to members of a United Nations-affiliated delegation expected to be on hand to monitor voting at polling places around the country on Election Day.
In a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body created by U.N. charter and responsible for helping to ensure the integrity of elections,among other tasks, Abbott warned the diplomatic poll-watchers that their involvement in U.S. elections could have strong legal repercussions.
“It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he writes. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.” Such a restriction makes election monitoring highly difficult.
The OSCE announced earlier this month that it would send 44 observers to polling places around the country on Election Day in order to monitor possible disputes that could arise in the voting process. The move came in response to a petition from liberal-leaning voting rights groups, including the NAACP and ACLU, that suggested the OSCE’s presence could help combat what they fear will be a concerted effort to suppress votes from supporters of President Barack Obama.
Concerns among Democrats have mounted in the wake of reports that right-leaning groups, such as the Tea Party-aligned True The Vote, had plans to dispatch armies of poll-watchers seeking to root out invalid votes. Opponents warn that the volunteer “poll challengers” will engage in intimidation of legitimate minority voters who tend to vote Democratic.
As concerned as the GOP supposedly is about in-person fraud, you’d think that they would welcome the observers, wouldn’t you.