European group warned about observing Texas elections

Greg Abbott

Credit: WFAA

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott warned a European organization to stay away from polling places on election day.




Posted on October 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 23 at 7:00 PM

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a warning Tuesday to international groups hoping to observe the November 6 general election: Steer clear of polling places.

In a stern letter addressed to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Abbott noted that "OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place" and added it "may be a criminal offense" for them to get within 100 feet of a voting station.

"Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law," Abbott wrote.

The attorney general noted in his letter that OSCE had "reportedly met with" other organizations that have filed lawsuits challenging Texas voter ID laws. Abbott singled out Project Vote as being "closely affiliated with ACORN, which collapsed in disgrace after its role in a widespread voter-registration fraud scheme was uncovered."

Project Vote has been critical of a Texas law requiring photo ID at polling places, although a federal court has blocked its implementation for the general election.

Abbott added that while international groups like OSCE are welcome to learn more about the election process in Texas, "groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas." has asked the OSCE and Project Vote to respond to the attorney general's letter.

Members of organizations from the United States, including former President Jimmy Carter's The Carter Center, routinely observe elections in other countries to help ensure that balloting is conducted fairly and without fraud.