Wichita Falls native and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today (Thursday) informed Hillary Clinton by letter European observers who want to observe Texas elections should not mess with the Lone Star State.
Abbott, who is the top law enforcement officer for Texas, said, “The Texas Election Code does not authorize European representatives to enter polling places. If the OSCE(Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) does not want to follow Texas law, then perhaps it should send its representatives to another state.”
This clash between the United States Secretary Clinton and Wichitan Abbott was set up after the OSCE sent the State Department a letter asking that federal officials take steps to ensure the European election observers are not “restrained in their activities” while in Texas.
Abbott said the European group’s letter suggests the international monitors can circumvent Texas election law by gaining “unfettered access to Texas’ polling locations. That appears to violate Texas law which prevents unauthorized persons from entering a polling place-or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance on Election Day. OSCE monitors are not granted an exception to Texas law.”
What will happen if the European monitors enter the 100-foot zone in violation of the Texas Election Code?
Will television news coverage include pictures of Texas law enforcement officers detaining the Europeans?
Although the disagreement has not yet escalated to this point, is it possible observers from the European group will attempt to enter the 100-foot area around the polls here in Wichita Falls, Texas?
If so, this may well be the most exciting election in the history of Wichita Falls.
The OSCE group which plans on sending observers to Texas is comprised of 56 nations including countries such as “Albania, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Turkey.”
Abbott said the group announced it would be sending election observers to sites throughout the United States, including Texas, on Election Day.
As a result Wichita County Clerk Lori Bohannon, who is in charge of the election process for Wichita Falls and the surrounding North Texas area, may have her hands full. Although November 6, 2012 will be a busy day for her as all election days are, the specter of European observers possibly invading the legal space of Wichita Falls voters going to the polls may complicate matters even more.
How ironic would it be to see Russians monitoring a Wichita Falls election? Historians recall the late Russian Premier Joseph Stalin once saying, “It doesn’t matter who votes. What matters is who counts the votes.”
The next question is how will Secretary of State Hillary Clinton respond to Attorney General Abbott’s letter which was sent today?
Will she try to claim federal authority trumps the power of the state of Texas or will she accept Abbott’s interpretation of the law?
We will find out on November 6.
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