Texas AG Greg Abbott Threatens to Press Charges Against European Election Monitors

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Greg Abbott: Taking down election monitors like his daughter takes down wild game.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is threatening to bring criminal charges against European election observers who may be monitoring the general election process in Texas.

His always-entertaining Twitter feed suggests he would also be willing to throttle them with his bare hands. "UN poll watchers can't interfere w/ Texas elections," he tweeted yesterday. "I'll bring criminal charges if needed. Official letter posted soon." His hashtag added: #comeandtakeit. Delightful.

The target of Abbott's ire is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (who are not "UN poll watchers," although they are observers at the UN General Assembly and give briefings to its security council). Among other things, they observe elections for fairness and transparency in their 56 member nations, of which the U.S. is one. The OSCE has announced it will undertake "a limited election observation mission" in the United States.

"Several areas would benefit from closer attention," the organization wrote in a May report. "Including: redistricting; voting rights, registration, and identification; campaign finance; alternative voting methods; and the conduct of the electoral campaign, particularly in the media."

It's not actually clear if monitors will be placed in Texas, though it seems likely, given our state's enthusiasm for voter ID laws. In a public letter yesterday addressed to the OSCE mission's head, Ambassador Daan Everts, Abbott replied, basically: "Oh, hell no."

"While it remains unclear exactly what your monitoring is intended to achieve, or precisely what tactics you will use to achieve the proposed monitoring, OSCE has stated publicly that it will visit polling stations on Election Day as part of its monitoring plan," Abbott wrote (the full text of the letter is available here .)

Abbott accused the OSCE of meeting with a variety of groups who have filed lawsuits against Voter ID laws. One of those groups, he claimed, was Project Vote, which he criticizes for its work with the discredited and now-defunct ACORN (one of dozens of groups with which Project Vote organized voter registration drives).

In the next breath, Abbott suggests that the monitors aren't needed anyway, since voting laws here have been declared just fine and dandy:

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...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.

Abbott seems to have forgotten the part where a federal court struck down Texas' voter ID law as discriminatory (Texas is appealing the decision, naturally). He's referring instead to a lawsuit brought by Project Vote over voter registration laws in February. That suit resulted in an emergency injunction against those laws first being granted by a U.S. District Judge in August, then lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court in September. It's also currently on appeal.

Finally, the attorney general adds that OSCE members are welcome to observe Texas elections, if they "want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems." Otherwise, he adds, "it may be a criminal offense" for the OSCE reps to get within 100 feet of a polling place: "Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law."

According to the Texas Tribune, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade wrote a less-belligerent letter to the OSCE, asking them to clarify their intentions.

Governor Rick Perry has just gone ahead and declared victory over Europe, tweeting:

We've contacted the OSCE for comment, and will update if we hear back. Meanwhile, the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, issued a press release calling the threat of criminal sanctions "unacceptable." He added, "The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections. "

Lenarčič added that there are no plans to "interfere" with U.S. elections: "Our observers are required to remain strictly impartial and not to intervene in the voting process in any way.They are in the United States to observe these elections, not to interfere in them."

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58 comments
Bcktotxnmimnd
Bcktotxnmimnd

Please travel the country, live in other states, get an idea of how other states run before you try to get all "urbane, enlightened, retrospective, and philosophical" Unless you have lived outside of Texas you simply have no idea and nothing to compare it to....you soon might though if Texas continues to move away from what Texas was. And from the comments on here, some of these will be leading the way......away; perhaps to the way of the states from which they came.

Ultrecht
Ultrecht

Good lord, even our AG makes Texas looks like a bunch of rednecks who left school after the third grade to pursue a life throwing cowpies and humping farm animals. And if our 'ed-u-mication system' continues to teach religious fairytales instead of science to our children, then they may end up as stupid as our AG.

joseph
joseph

Obviously Abbott is planning on some kind of voter intimidation or he would not be issuing threats. His actions underscore the fact that independent observers are definitely necessary at this point.

sidewalkastro
sidewalkastro

I wonder if Abbott and his daughter ate that wild game or is he teaching his kids to kill animals just for fun. If killing is so fun,  when she gets to military age she should sign up for the marines go to one of our wars. Plenty of things to kill over there. She will great fun blowing heads off.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Observing the election process in foreign countries is something the United States has been involved in for years.  If we don't want "outsiders" observing, then we need to stop observing them.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

It is funny how EVERY recorded case of vote fraud in the last lets say 50 years has been by DEMOCRATS and yet it is the libtards that are calling in the keystone cops from the laughable, corrupt UN.  From Duvall County dead people voting, to Minnesota vote fraud for Al Franken to Dallas County absentee voting fraud to the Obama administration squashing the votes of our servicemen, to the recent videotapes of a Obama campaign directors in Houston and Democrat worker in Virginia promoting vote fraud on and on.  But by God! They are going to make sure Republicans don't put a stop Democrats from their fraud by requiring people to actually prove they are who they say they are when they vote.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Officious, puffed up bureaucritters ought to be threatened and inflicted with bodily harm on general principle. Only way to keep them from eating out our substance.

 

I got $10 right here to toss into the pot to hire a beat-down of the first euroweenie meddler to set foot in Dallas County.  Hey, isn't the homeless guy who just body-slammed a PCP nutter available?  He ought to be good for a half-dozen of the worthless pogues as a warm-up and the rest would likely run back to their offices in Turtle Bay. 

 

Homeless guy earns some honest money, eurocrats get a thumping.  I see no downside.

kduble
kduble

What's Abbott afraid of?

jesdynf
jesdynf

Cleaning up after thirty, forty years of teabaggers enjoying power is going to be a lot of work. I appreciate any observations the OSCE wants to make about where my efforts would be best spent.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

is it just me or does anyone else get the idea that abbott and perry are in a contest to see who can be the most obtuse, idiotic, "waste of a good suit" elected official ever to serve?

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Let's just make Donald Trump the AG and remove any doubt what a joke this state's leadership is

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

Regardless of our political leanings, bringing an underage daughter into the fray (via. photo here) is out of line.  Would we do this if the shoe were on the other foot?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @joseph An unwarranted knee-jerk reaction by an idiotic AG does not merit an equal and opposite knee-jerk conclusion by us.  How is it obvious that voter intimidation is planned?  How do his actions underscore that independent observers are necessary?  Having see UN election observers in various places, I can assure you they are by no means independent, completely ineffective, and a vast waste of time, energy and resources.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @roadsidecouch Nobody tried to squash the votes of those in the military.  All the administration did was tell Ohio that if they were going to allow early absentee voting by members of the military they had to allow early absentee voting by all qualified absentee voters.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @roadsidecouch Bull!  Republicans in Florida recently got into hot water for going out and registering only people who planned to vote republican.  And, in Virginia, a man working for republicans was caught throwing out registration forms from people who planned to vote for Democrats.

UnCoverUp
UnCoverUp

 @kduble He's afraid that the honest services fraud of corrupt politician-judges who he has aided and abetted through selective non-prosecution of their crimes will be uncovered. Abbott's fraud has been recently highlighted by the scandal arising from the refusal of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC), for which Abbott has oversight responsibility, in concealing from the Texas Legislature's Sunset Commission documents that show particular instances of Abbott's cover up of SCJC willful failure to investigate and prosecute reported cases of state judges  taking bribes from bosses of Abbott's union, the State Bar of Texas, to fix the outcomes of their cases to favor their economic interests. Chief law enforcement officer indeed! If US federal law enforcement agencies are too busy looking for terrorist to investigate and prosecute the rampant public corruption in Texas, then maybe Texas should accept the foreign aid offered by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to investigate Texas public corruption. Maybe the International Criminal Court can have the lawyer-union bosses who organized these crimes extradited to the Hague for prosecution and imprisonment.  

TurdFerguson
TurdFerguson

@jesdynf Teabaggers enjoy the most power in San Francisco and Key West, so maybe you should start there.

engmofo
engmofo

@mavdog "Boing!" Said Zebedee.........

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

 @mavdog Just wait until they run against each other for guv in 2014 (maybe).

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @MushMouth1 I'm waiting for one of the Palin braintrust to decide to grace us with their political wizardry. Sarah can proudly say she sees Mexico from Austin.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @mcdallas I tend to agree with the others here.  Abbott is not only this girl's father, he's the AG of the State.  If anyone should know the consequences of putting anything online, he should.  If he wanted his daughter shielded from public exposure, he should never, ever have put her picture on a publicly shared social media site.  I believe it's right there in the TOU for Twitter, FB, G+, Hi5, or any of the defunct social media sites.  I don't believe UP has ever used the picture in a distasteful or improper fashion.  Irreverent perhaps, lacking respect certainly, but not improper or obscene.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

"registering only people who planned to vote republican"  

 

Nothing illegal about that.  Both parties target voters likely to vote for their party. 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Montemalone - But he's not and it's a travesty of justice. But what did you think about what he caught on tape?

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Montemalone @MushMouth1 - Are you one of those who have confused a comedy routine with real life?

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

 All I'm saying is if the shoe was on the other foot.... well, it wouldn't be on the other foot, now, would it?

 

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

 @Anna_Merlan And our President posts photos of his daughters, but the standard is that we don't use them as political fodder.  Except in the case or right-wing rag blogs.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @Montemalone  @MushMouth1 Are you one of those?  Monte is obviously referring to Palin's response to a Charlie Gibson question about the insight she had gained from living so close to Russia.  Part of her response was "...... you can actually see parts of Russia from land in Alaska...."  See how that corresponds with seeing Mexico from Austin?

Apparently you are only aware of the comedy routine about seeing Russia from her house, and not the origins of the routine.  To quote the old GI Joe cartoon: "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @mcdallas  Eric's not my editor. He's the editor of Unfair Park. Minor technical point. Kind of dickish to bring it up. Don't know why I did. Sorry. 

 

We have tons of delightful photos of Abbott, Rick Perry and the rest of the gang. We like to rotate.  

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @roo_ster  Dude, please. You have any idea how many cable news hosts there are? It would take me at least half a day to get around to you guys. 

roo_ster
roo_ster

 @Anna_Merlan  @EdD. Yeah, and he misses the cthulhuesque medallion staring right at him. What a reportage fail. 

 

Tell the truth: this Observer gig is just tiding you over until you figure out how to raise the Great Old Ones and feed us to them in a fit of murderous insanity, the Unfair Park commentariat being at the top of the menu. 

TurdFerguson
TurdFerguson

@GuitarPlayer @mcdallas I love it when someone who does not even know where to place an apostrophe, or not, calls ANYONE an idiot.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @EdD. Ha ha, my J-school professor told me it made my head look "misshapen." He's totally right. 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @MereMuleskinner  I disagree that I'm deflecting the question. I used a publicly available image, one that Abbott himself made public. I don't think that re-posting it drags her any further into the "political fray" than his original publication of the image has done. 

 

But clearly there's a difference of opinion here, and as I said, I won't be mad if somebody responds to it by writing a snarky blog post using my picture. Poetic justice, etc.   

MereMuleskinner
MereMuleskinner

 @Anna_Merlan  @mcdallas I think its pretty clear that "This" means keeping one of your kids in the political fray. Why deflect the question?

It is not Abbott's daughter's fault that her dad is not real smart .

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @mcdallas  @Anna_Merlan There is some shit here that I dilike but for fucks sake, the use of photos that are publicaly available by Unfair Park is one of the best practices they have.  Shit is funny the pics they come up with

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Anna, how dare you politicize the politicized photo of Abbott and his daughter? How would you feel if someone in the media took a photo of you and/or your family that you distrbuted to the media and put it in an article about you? Do you not see the immorality and lack of journalistic ethics of using politican's family photos which the politican themselves distributed to the public in an article about that very politician?

 

my god, what has the media become......

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @GuitarPlayer  @mcdallas I'm gonna find terrible things being done to my Twitter photo now, huh? I only hope that they are also hilarious. Google images has some other public photos of me that'll also work. Just FYI. 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @mcdallas  Yep, not much to say after you get your ass handed to you by the lovely Anna. I love it with idiot's spew with no clue. 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @mcdallas "This" meaning what? Reprinting an image I've published myself? With a slightly funny headline? Yeah, sure. If you want to photoshop my twitter photo onto the head of an antelope or something, go right ahead. 

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

 @Anna_Merlan Just consider the golden rule.  Would you want this done to a progressive?  To your own family?  

 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @mcdallas Using private photos of a politician's family would be vile; using images they purposely put in the public sphere to advance their own agenda and public image strikes me as just fine. My editor can remove the photo if he disagrees. 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @mcdallas So when Abbott posted this picture and wrote beneath it, "Proud of my daughter! She is a true believer in the 2nd amendment," was that somehow an apolitical use of his child's image? 

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

 Band name alert: "rag blogs"

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