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International election observers planning to visit Texas

 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 US State Department issued a warning as well. No, not to the election observers — to Texas:

International election observers planning to visit Texas polling places have “full immunity” from being arrested in the United States, the State Department said when discussing a letter from the Texas Attorney General.

“I’m not going to get into any kind of hypothetical situations or predict where this is going to go other than to say we have every expectation that this will be worked out and to state the fact, which is that under U.S. law they are eligible for immunities,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. Reporters tried to get her to state explicitly that Texas could not arrest election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), but Nuland would only reiterate that OSCE observers have full immunity.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, R-Texas, warned OSCE that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” as The Hill noted.

Nuland dismissed Abbott’s observation that OSCE consulted with Project Vote, a group that was affiliated with ACORN before that now-discredited organization collapsed under the weight of voter fraud charges.

 An Election Judge said:

Speaking as an election judge in Texas, I can say how I will handle the situation if it arises. I will ask to see any credentials the observers have and determine whether or not Texas law or the Voting Rights Act includes those credentials among those which allow them in the polling place.
If they do not, I will inform these observers that they must stay outside the 100 foot perimeter established by state law -- which in the case of my polling place will put them in the middle of the parking lot at our public library -- unless they have lawful business in the building (checking out books, using the restroom, purchasing books at the Friends of the Library bookstore, etc.).
If they fail to follow Texas law, I will contact the local police to request that they remove the observers beyond the legal limit -- and if there are repeated violations of those limits I will exercise my authority under Texas law to direct their arrest (Texas law gives this power to an election judge on election day -- we have the same power to order arrest as a state district court judge).”

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.”

There’s a reason that our logo is "DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!" 

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