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I have been waiting for this situation to blow up ever since I received an email from Dkos about the OSCE (UN-affiliated election monitors) being asked to monitor 2012 U.S. elections due to expected voter intimidation at the polls.  I have been waiting to see this reported on broadcast or PBS news(I don't have cable) but either missed it or nothing has been reported.  So, tonight I decided to google 'OSCE to monitor U.S. elections', and pulled up several sites with stories related to this topic.  

Scroll down below the squiggle to read about the depths to which we, as a divided nation, have sunk.

State of Texas

The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, has threatened to arrest international election monitors invited by liberal groups to observe the conduct of next month's presidential vote in states accused of attempting to disenfranchise minorities.

"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 said.

State of Florida
A Florida congressman running for the Senate, Connie Mack, also waded into the debate, saying that reports the United Nations wants to send election monitors was an outrage.

"The United Nations should be kicked off of American soil once and for all. And the American people should demand that the United Nations be stopped from 'monitoring' American elections. The only ones who should ever oversee American elections are Americans."

The OSCE via Latino-Fox News
The threat of criminal prosecution prompted outrage in Janez Lenarcic, the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), who contacted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about Abbott's letter.

“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable,” Lenarcic said. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its 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.”

This has the potential to get really ugly and potentially dangerous.  Let's hope cooler heads will prevail.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Isn't Texas headquarters of Trash the Vote group (20+ / 0-)

    True the Vote (Orwellian) the 'conservative fascist organized group funded by the usual suspects.

    Voter suppression at its finest. Another fine bunch of concerned citizens who are going to intimidate dem voters in urban areas ensure everyones vote is protected .

    •  I call them "Troll the Vote" (14+ / 0-)

      but I haven't applied for the trademark yet

      Regulate banks, not vaginas

      by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 10:33:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  there's another diary y'all need to check out: (10+ / 0-)

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Troubadour has caught a lot of shit for calling out the denialism about voter suppression in that diary.  

      What Texas is up to looks like enablement of voter suppression.

      Why else would they want to arrest people who are out to observe and report on voter suppression?

      IMHO the feds should come down hard on this shit, and the US Attorney General should send a letter to the Texas state AG reminding him of Article 6 and threatening serious shit if Texas messes with election observers.  

      Make it crystal clear who's boss, and if Texas state gov wants to start Civil War II over this, just let them try.  

      We've been through worse before, and won.

      "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

      by G2geek on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 11:45:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  +1 G2 & MoT. Campaign hdqtrs are'Victory Centers' (0+ / 0-)

        for willards team also .

        Thats what they called Walkers headquarters during the recalls.as well. They bragged afterwards 'It worked in Wi, and they will take [tactics] nationwide'.

        'True the Vote' group was used during the recalls. They are the ones who had access to the recall petitions and linked them together into one handy searchable database w/CCAP. A new 'tool' for any other fascist bastard to use against recallers concerned employers, landlords neighbors etc... CCAP is a 'feature'  in Wi where you can look up past and current court cases filed against any Wi resident on the computer. Not good as people w/connections can 'opt out'. Often when people find a name w/a case, guilty or innocent, you are prejudged.

         Usage of the word 'true' as a verb caught my attention as well. You are the first to articulate it. Language is a powerful tool.

        Troubadors diary is on the money. These assholes are a threat to everyone in this country-and I work against them at every chance.  

        Currently in the DKOS doghouse :-( NR'ed recently for HRing a troll-troll-now banned) but at least I'm not roofracked.

  •  Send Jimmy Carter to Texas, and see if (22+ / 0-)

    that peckerwood arrests the Man from Plains.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 10:18:28 PM PDT

    •  You just don't hear "peckerwood" enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mogolori

      today -  a favorite from my childhood, along with "piss ant".   Thanks for taking me down memory lane with a smile on my face!

      Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

      by Ellen Columbo on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:52:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OSCE not UN-affiliated (13+ / 0-)

    Just to clarify - the OSCE is not "affiliated" with the UN.  It is one of countless non-governmental organisations recognised by the UN and its aims are compatible with the UN Charter, but as an organisation, it is completely separate and independent of the UN.
    Even Switzerland, which at the time was not member of the UN, joined the OSCE.
    The OSCE played a major role in the 70s here in Europe spurring detente with what was then still the Communist bloc (hence "Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe"), and after the fall of the Wall, assisting the former Communist nations of Eastern Europe on their path to democracy.

    γνωθι σεαυτόν

    by halef on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 10:31:24 PM PDT

    •  The UN-affiliated statement (6+ / 0-)

      was taken from the Dkos email on this subject:

      United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week.[...]

      The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.

      Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

      by Ellen Columbo on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 11:07:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the OSCE website (0+ / 0-)

        The OSCE refers to the UN under its External Co-operation heading.  The UN has the same status as NATO, the Council of Europe, the EU, and other treaty organisations.
        The OSCE maintains its independence of the UN for various reasons, but the absence of members with veto power is one of them.  Also, the UN is sometimes seen as a tool of the US (by some) or a tool of nefarious dark forces (by some in the US) so the OSCE label offers distinguishing advantages - much like Americans used to pretend to be Canadians when they travelled to Europe while Junior was president.
        Not that the OSCE is without controversy:  The chairmanship rotates, and in 2010, Kazakhstan held the post, even though Nursultan Nasarbayev is a bona fide dictator in the Stalinist mould.
        The OSCE does not have black helicopters, or any helicopters.  The UN has helicopters, but they are baby-boy-blue.
        As a European, I find it ironic that politicians in the US denigrate international institutions that are regarded as beacons of democracy in the rest of the world, and where the US were the founders, co-founders or godparent.  Of course, I recognise that the UN is tainted by the Original Sin of being Eleanor Roosevelt's project, but we don't mind.

        γνωθι σεαυτόν

        by halef on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:11:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Time to Mess With Texas 1957-Style (15+ / 0-)

    The executive branch of the State of Texas seems to be under the impression that state law trumps federal law. When it comes to making license plates, Texas is right. But Texas is wrong when it comes to honoring treaties entered into by the United States. Texas Governor Perry, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seem to think that Texas is still a sovereign nation, a Confederate state, or some political changeling well outside the Constitution of the United States, and they have threatened OSCE/ODIH observers with criminal prosecution under Texas law. Interesting. Like all other treaty countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation In Europe (OSCE), the United States has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections, whether in Texas or Maine. Perhaps in their ceaseless effort to improve Texas history text books (where American slavery has been euphemised to "“Atlantic triangular trade”), these executives forgot to read the document they have sworn to uphold and defend, namely the Constitution of the United States. If they had, they might have rememberd Article 6, the one that covers treaties. Article 6 lays it out pretty clearly, even for state executives:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Period. The Texas executive branch seems to have forgotten the the "laws of Texas" do not apply to treaties entered into by the federal government. The Constitution expressly prohibits it. And until Texas once again commits treasonous, armed rebellion against the United States, it will always falls under the Constitution and laws of the United States. This fact should be made crystal clear to those sworn to know better. If by October 25, Abbott still insists on pursing his pseudo-legal course, the United States Secretary of State should petition the federal courts for an enforcement order. And with such a federal court order in hand, we might well see the 101st Airborne again enforcing federal law at tip of bayonet. It's up to Texas.

  •  Exactly what charges would they arrest them under? (10+ / 0-)

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 10:35:56 PM PDT

  •  This is just grandstanding to their crazy base. (9+ / 0-)

    The Freepers were going crazy today about the international poll watchers. My (evil) sister was outraged today about this. Her info came from either Faux News or Free Republic. These Texas (Perry) people are just shooting their big mouths off like they always do. This is nothing but trumped up BS. I would love to see the federal government take action and put them in their place.

  •  If these Republican controlled statehouses (18+ / 0-)

    would quit acting like fiefdoms no one would need to monitor their vote.

    At some point they're going to have to get over their pique at being in the minority. The demographics are trending against them and it's only going to get worse. Voter suppression and dirty tricks aren't going to hold back the inevitable tide that's going to sweep them out of the way.

    I hope the Feds hand this guy his ass.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 11:43:02 PM PDT

  •  Translation: TX desperately needs UN monitors. (6+ / 0-)

    Voter suppression is treason.

    by Troubadour on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:15:36 AM PDT

  •  facepalm TX (4+ / 0-)

    Yes, because what my state needs to do is cause an international incident confirming the need for those very same monitors.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:32:53 AM PDT

  •  I find AG Abbott is execrable, a blowhard, and (0+ / 0-)

    all about Greg.  That said, may we all put this in a bit of context?  Greg Abbott is puffing himself up, pandering to the base, but is in fact on defensible legal ground.  IANAL, and have never played one, and I only know what I read, BUT...

    The gist is that, the ONLY poll watchers, defined under the Texas Election Code, allowed inside a polling place, must be: registered voters, signed up/certified by the County Elections official, invited by a candidate or party, and can do NOTHING except observe.  Law provides for no cell phones inside (except by poll officials/workers), and no politicking within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place.  All that said, the OSCE will observe the process, but not enter polling places.  There are some states that specifically allow outside "observers" in polling places, and Texas specifically excludes anyone but voters, poll oficials, and certified "watchers" as defined.

    Here is the post I put into the previous diary from yesterday/last night:
    _______
    IANAL, but here is the TX Election Code:

    Ch. 33 "Watchers"

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/...

    ELECTION CODE
    TITLE 3. ELECTION OFFICERS AND OBSERVERS
    CHAPTER 33. WATCHERS
    SUBCHAPTER A. APPOINTMENT
    Sec. 33.001.  WATCHER DEFINED.  In this code, "watcher" means a person appointed under this subchapter to observe the conduct of an election on behalf of a candidate, a political party, or the proponents or opponents of a measure.
    Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.
    Now, the gist is that a "Watcher", as defined, is invited by the candidate, party, or pros/cons of a measure.  They must be a registered voter in the county or other jurisdiction in which the election is held.  They must also be identified, cerified, and sign an oath, and are only allowed to observe in the polling place.  They are to have no communication with voters, poll clerks, or anyone else, except to speak to the presiding electiion judge in the polling place when they have a question or comment to make.  They must leave the pollling place to telephone, and have further restrictions on staying a minimum amount of time, etc.  Other observers/inspectors permitted by law in Texas are Secretary of State-designated Inspectors, and Federal DoJ inspectors.

    I hate to say it, but Mr. Abbott may be legally correct.  Though I also submit he is blustering and trying to make political hay while pandering to his base.  And, as I said, Greg is ALL about Greg.

    I just finished my Dallas County election judge training this past weekend.  My training was with the new Elections Administrator herself, appointed by our Democratic-majority County Commissioners.  I will be an Alternate Election Judge (the party which had the most votes in the last governor race gets to appoint its precinct Election Judge, and Rick Perry is Governor.  The other party appoints the Alternate).  

    I just called the County Elections Department to get a straight answer, and the person I spoke with (I think I may have been referred to the Legal Dept.) said that all of the above was true, and that the OSCE observers would not enter and would not be allowed inside the polling places.  They are invited to observe from outside the polling place (and the 100 foot distance?  I dunno).

    So, unless a candidate or the GOP asks, certifies and gets the True the Vote folks inside as official poll watchers, it should only be voters and workers inside the polling place, and any other invited, ceritfied/sworn poll watchers.  It looks like this would not include OSCE observers, unless they are dual nationals with voting rights in Texas.  Texas law does not permit cell phones within 100 feet of the entrance, and prominent signs are posted telling you to turn them off.  Same for the watchers.

    According to press accounts, other states have explicit provision under state law for international observers:

    Access of international observers during voting is explicitly allowed in some states such as Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Mexico.
    http://thehill.com/...

    Now, the TX SoS, Hope Andrade, says the following:

    Andrade repeats Abbott's assertion that that the OSCE has no jurisdiction over Texas elections, but adds that she is certain the OSCE “does not intent to allow its organization and this observation program to be portrayed as an ‘inspection’ or ‘monitoring.’”
    In an email to county election officials, Keith Ingram, the state's director of elections, said he has spoken to the observers and they understood what they could do on their visit.

    “I have specifically informed the Texas team that Chapter 61 of the Texas Election Code would not allow them into actual polling places, and they understood this limitation,” he wrote. “Other than that, I told them that we are ready to answer any questions they may have.  If you have any specific concerns or questions, please let me know.”

    http://www.texastribune.org/...

    Just to be thorough, Chapter 61 of the Texas Election Code is here:

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/...

    CHAPTER 61. CONDUCT OF VOTING GENERALLYSUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONSSec. 61.001.  BYSTANDERS EXCLUDED;  UNLAWFUL PRESENCE OF CANDIDATE.  (a)  Except as permitted by this code, a person may not be in the polling place from the time the presiding judge arrives there on election day to make the preliminary arrangements until the precinct returns have been certified and the election records have been assembled for distribution following the election.
    . . .
    Sec. 61.003.  ELECTIONEERING AND LOITERING NEAR POLLING PLACE PROHIBITED.  (a)  A person commits an offense if, during the voting period and within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter the building in which a polling place is located, the person:(1)  loiters;  or(2)  electioneers for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.(b)  In this section, "voting period" means the period beginning when the polls open for voting and ending when the polls close or the last voter has voted, whichever is later.(c)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
    Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.
    So, it sounds like although Abbott is being a blowhard and jerk (what's new?), he is also legally correct about the provisions of the Texas Election Code.  There is no provision for non-candidate/part watchers inside poling places.

    As I said, IANAL.  Does the U.N. or any treaty obligations trump Texas election law?  I dunno.  It sure makes us look like we are hiding something, and this strict interpretation seems a bt uninviting to open and transparent elections.  Mebbe we need more watchers in every precinct.

    I am open to discuss, cuss, dispute, or correct, or shrug about what I don't know.

    by tom 47 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 03:10:47 PM CDT
    _
    _________

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:48:22 AM PDT

    •  Link to my comment, for time/context: (0+ / 0-)

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      This was by stevenwag on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 12:43:35 PM CDT

      I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

      by tom 47 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:50:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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