Voting rights group urges Texas to embrace poll watchers

Early voting

Credit: WFAA

Voting rights group urges Texas to embrace poll watchers

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by WALT ZWIRKO

WFAA

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 24 at 5:54 PM

A voting rights organization on Wednesday asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to protect the rights of the state's voters after his stern warning to potential election observers.

"My message to UN related poll watchers: Don't Mess with Texas Elections!" Abbott tweeted on Tuesday. "I'll bring criminal charges if needed."

Abbott relayed that admonition in a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which was invited by leading U.S. voting rights groups to monitor balloting in Texas and other states.

In a written statement, Project Vote executive director Michael Slater said Texas has a "long history" of voting rights infringements.

"It appears that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is ashamed of Texas’s voting rights record or he would welcome observers with open arms," Slater said. "Instead, he is threatening them and attacking groups that are working to ensure that every eligible Texan is allowed to vote."

Slater noted that his organization is involved in two legal challenges in Texas voting rights cases.

"Project Vote urges the Texas Attorney General to devote scarce taxpayer resources to protecting voters from the very real threats of voter intimidation and suppression," Slater wrote.

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