Thehill.com has the story:
Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable,” Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said in a statement. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”
Lawmakers from the group of 56 European and Central Asian nations have been observing U.S. elections since 2002, without incident. Their presence has become a flashpoint this year, however, as Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud while Democrats counter that GOP-inspired voter ID laws aim to disenfranchise minority voters.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott further fueled the controversy on Tuesday when he sent a letter to the OSCE warning the organization that its representatives “are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place” and that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance.”
The letter goes on to accuse the group of having met with liberal organizations that oppose Voter ID laws. The OSCE put out an interim report last week saying that “recent state-level legislative initiatives to limit early voting and introduce stricter voter identification have become highly polarized.”
“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 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. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also weighed in, tweeting “No UN monitors/inspectors will be part of any TX election process; I commend @Txsecofstate for swift action to clarify issue.”
In letters to Abbott and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose State Department invited the 44 election observers, Lenarčič reiterated that the group is only there to observe the elections.
“Our observers are required to remain strictly impartial and not to intervene in the voting process in any way,” Lenarčič said in a statement. “They are in the United States to observe these elections, not to interfere in them.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland sought to tone down the controversy during her briefing Thursday. The department is eager to avoid giving the impression that the United States is unwilling to submit to the same scrutiny it demands of others when it comes to human and civil rights.
“Since the initial issue with Texas we’ve received a letter, both for Secretary Clinton and one for Texas authorities, from the OSCE assuring us and Texas authorities that the OSCE observers are committed to following all U.S. laws and regulations as they do in any country where they observe elections and they will do so as well in Texas,” Nuland said. “To my knowledge [Texas] is the only state that came forward and said ‘please reassure us that you’re going to follow our state electoral law.’ And they have now been reassured.
As I wrote in my post last Sunday, “UN Representatives to Monitor OUR Presidential Election”:
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).
The fact that our soon-to-be former president (Please, God) selected a Jihadist to represent OUR country should give you a clue as to the nature of this UN Committee.
I’m sure you’re asking by now, “How did this mess start in the first place?”
Start the Wayback Machine, Sherman. We’re traveling to 2004…
The foreign observers set to monitor the U.S. presidential election for the first time ever this November said the election of a Florida Democrat as president of the group’s parliamentary assembly would not taint the group’s objectivity.
On July 9, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings – criticized by conservatives for his ethics and partisanship – was elected president of the OSCE’s parliamentary assembly, a position that will allow him to appoint and assign OSCE’s election monitors.
Although the OSCE members present at the press conference insisted that Hastings would not be involved in observing the election on November 2, at least one member did concede that Hastings has influenced the process by playing a role in the selection of OSCE Vice President Barbara Haering, a Swiss parliamentarian who will lead the observer operations on Election Day.
Olszewski told CNSNews.com that the appointment of Haering means that Hastings will stay separate from the actual observation process.
But Peyton Knight, executive director of the conservative American Policy Center (APC) dismissed what he said were the OSCE’s and Hastings’ attempts to distance themselves from each other.
“That is quite a different tune that [Hastings] was playing two months ago,” Knight told CNSNews.com.
“As the parliamentary president, Hastings often declared that he would get to pick the observers that would be observing this election,” Knight said.
In August, the APC objected to Hastings’ role with the OSCE, partly because of his questionable ethics. Hastings was impeached in a bribery and perjury scandal when he was a federal judge.
Hastings became Florida’s first African-American U.S. District Court judge in 1979, nominated by then President Jimmy Carter. But nine years later, the U.S. House impeached Hastings for taking bribes from the federal bench and for perjury. The U.S. Senate subsequently convicted Hastings on the charges and removed him from office.
Hastings in 1992 ran for the Florida’s predominantly black 23rd district in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he still serves.
According to APC, which refers to Hastings as a “disgraced federal judge,” Hastings’ comments about the Bush administration, including a comment that the president’s re-election team would “try to steal this election,” jeopardize his impartiality.
Hastings also is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group still smarting over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stop Florida’s presidential ballot recount in 2000. The ruling effectively gave the election to George W. Bush.
…Knight said the APC’s objections to OSCE go beyond Hastings’ affiliation with the group.
“The OSCE is totally biased,” Knight said. He noted that OSCE observers are in the U.S. “at the behest of the most leftist Congress member on Capitol Hill, and that is who they are going to get their marching orders from.” Knight was referring to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and others.
“The OSCE monitoring of our elections is an insult to America and that is exactly what the few Democrats and internationalists in Congress want it to be – an insult. That was the goal,” Knight said.
“The other goal was to give false credence to claims that Republicans stole the election in 2000,” he added.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was right in barring these “impartial observers” from entering OUR polling places.
The manner in which we exercise our right to vote, and, whom we vote for, is none of their business.
However, I do have a newsflash for the UN:
I do not think they are going to like the outcome of OUR 2012 Presidential Election.
Sho’ ’nuff hate it for ’em.