News Arresting Impartial Observers?

  • Thread starter SixNein
  • Start date

SixNein

Gold Member
38
16
Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, issued a stern warning this week to members of an international delegation expected to be on hand to monitor voting at polling places around the country on Election Day.

.
.
"It may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance," he writes. "Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/greg-abbott-texas-un-elections_n_2010081.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

your thoughts?
 
476
1
I would believe that it is against the law. Surely such laws weren't intended for the purpose of shutting down oversight, but the law's the law.

Republicans tend to be xenophobic and have the attitude that the US rules (or at least, SHOULD rule) and that every other country sucks eggs. So what are these farn fag eggsuckers doin' messing with our 'lections, which are the BEST IN THE WORLD??? The nerve of them eggsuckers. I would expect them to be quite unfriendly to any such monitors. I would expect his attitude to be popular in Texas.
 

AlephZero

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
6,953
291

Oltz

What right does the UN have to over see any of our political functions?

Granted if it were up to me one of the budget holes I would close is the UN so I am not impartial either.
 
153
1
It's against the law for ANYBODY to loiter within 100 feet of polling places where I'm from. I don't see what the big deal is.
 

Mentalist

I don't like people looking at me so I should issue arrests warrants.
 

Oltz

I bet he expects them to obey posted speed limits as well the gall of imposing laws on UN international delegates who do not have diplomatic immunity.
 
351
2
There is nothing intelligent about his remarks IMO.
 
I don't believe the state has the power to prosecute any foreign citizen. I think that's a federal power only.
 

mheslep

Gold Member
254
727
UN election observers?

Maybe they'll draw observers from the UN Human Rights Council, whose members include Cuba, China, Saudia Arabia and Libya. Syria had applied for a seat this year, though Assad may have been too busy lately to finish the paper work.
 

mheslep

Gold Member
254
727
I don't believe the state has the power to prosecute any foreign citizen. I think that's a federal power only.
I doubt all of these observers have diplomatic immunity which is granted by the federal government. Otherwise there are many foreign nationals sitting in state prison that want a lawyer ASAP.
 
351
2

SixNein

Gold Member
38
16

Vanadium 50

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
23,212
5,540
As it happens, OSCE has now conceded that they don't need to actually be in the polling places and that they will abide by Texas laws, so this whole thing is moot now.
 

mheslep

Gold Member
254
727
351
2
As it happens, OSCE has now conceded that they don't need to actually be in the polling places and that they will abide by Texas laws, so this whole thing is moot now.
It was never a question about if OSCE will abide by local laws but the thread and the OP article is about how welcoming Greg Abbott is to having an external organization monitoring the election process. From the OP article:
Abbott's opposition is consistent with a growing trend of conservative distrust toward the United Nations and other international organizations
It's no wonder that the world doesn't cheer much on the US conservatives:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20008687
 
Last edited:

Evo

Mentor
22,867
2,343
It seems that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was mistaken from the beginning.

Daan Everts, the OSCE ambassador who received a skeptical letter from Abbott this week that set off a war of words to which even the U.S. State Department had to respond, told The Associated Press his monitors don't need to be inside polling places to observe the Nov. 6 election.

OSCE observers generally are members of parliament from organization member countries, which include the United States and 55 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The group has sent observers to poll locations across the U.S. since 2002 and stationed some in San Antonio in 2008.

Abbott wrote Everts on Tuesday saying he was unclear about OSCE's intentions in Texas and raised concerns about the group's meetings with opponents of voter ID initiatives. He said international groups "are not allowed to influence or interfere" with Texas elections and warned that monitors faced prosecution if they came within 100 feet of polling sites.

Everts, head of OSCE's long-term election observer mission, said the group is nonpartisan, comes down on no side of the voter ID debate and that U.S. elections are secure enough to where his monitors don't need to join registered and authorized poll watchers already inside.

"He should be better informed," Everts said of Abbott.

A spokeswoman for Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. On Thursday, Abbott tweeted "BRING IT" after another OSCE ambassador wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling Abbott's warnings of arrest "unacceptable."
How embarrassing, we have Texas politicians that have no clue what is going on. The OSCE has been doing this in the US since 2002!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121026/us-texas-election-standoff/
 

jhae2.718

Gold Member
1,110
20
How embarrassing, we have Texas politicians that have no clue what is going on...
Oh, right, you don't live here. Move along now, nothing to see here. Everything is situation normal.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,867
2,343

chemisttree

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,029
33
I don't believe the state has the power to prosecute any foreign citizen. I think that's a federal power only.
Not true. Federal crimes are handled in Federal Court. State and local crimes are prosecuted in state and local courts.
 

chemisttree

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,029
33
It seems that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was mistaken from the beginning.
Mistaken about what? OSCE has said that it will station poll watchers in polling stations. When confronted with Texas State law it changed tactics to not actually being present to observe the election. This is an obvious change to what they had intended to do. The OSCE Election Observation Handbook specifically states how elections are to be observed.
Responsibilities for observing election-day activities are shared among the core team, LTOs,and STOs. Among these, however, STOs are the mission’s primary resource for observing and assessing election-day procedures at polling stations and at intermediate levels of the election administration. STOs are deployed around the country on election day, in international teams of two, to observe polling stations and counting centres.
Election-day observation can be a very individual experience, depending on the area of
deployment and the set of circumstances confronted by each observer team in the polling
stations they visit. Some observers may encounter significant problems, others may find no
problems, and still others may see a mixed picture. The ODIHR election observation methodology, which provides for a contribution by each observer team, is designed to achieve an overall picture of election-day proceedings. Observers fill in forms at each polling station and counting centre visited, which provides detailed information on the voting and counting process, and which in turn provides the election observation mission with an overall profile of polling-station activity throughout the country, upon which it can draw conclusions based upon a collective experience.
The ODIHR methodology for election-day observation is therefore both qualitative and quantitative.
Completing the forms in polling stations provides a basis for a countrywide statistical
analysis of the implementation of key election-day procedures. While there is a standard
form designed as a checklist for procedures in polling stations and counting centres, forms
do vary depending on country-specific procedures (see Annex B for a sample form). The
forms ensure that all important aspects of the election-day process are properly focused
on and reported and that key tendencies are identified correctly. The EOM statistical analyst
prepares a quantitative analysis of the results of observation.
In addition to filling out forms, STOs are asked to provide comments on noteworthy observations or impressions, both on their forms and in oral debriefings. They may sometimes be asked to prepare separate written reports on particular incidents or observations. Careful
commentary from STOs can be particularly important in establishing whether specific election-day violations took place and in discerning trends within the country or in particular
You can't observe and gather "detailed information on the voting and counting process" without being present in the polling station, a requirement noted as late as last Friday by the OSCE in a statement that
...monitors could not stay 100 feet away from polling stations in order to observe and evaluate things like ballot secrecy and the voting process. Thomas Rymer said OSCE was in touch with the State Department and hoped the situation would be resolved before the election.
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2012/10/26/texas-ag-ramps-up-dispute-with-election-observers

Elsewhere in the OSCE operation manual it refers many times to being inside the polling station to observe and count blank forms, empty ballot boxes, interviewing polling station officials, and so forth. My favorite section is the section dealing with interviewing polling station officials.
How were polling-station officials selected? Do they represent political parties? What is their usual employment?
Are all appointed members present? Have any members been prevented from serving
on the polling-station commission?
How are the duties of the polling-station commission divided to provide for efficient and
secure processing of voters?
Did polling-station officials receive formal training?
When were the ballots and other voting materials received, and how were they secured
prior to election day?
How many ballots were initially received by the polling station in question?
Are there sufficient ballots and other polling materials?
We are supposed to believe this doesn't constitute interference?

How embarrassing, we have Texas politicians that have no clue what is going on. The OSCE has been doing this in the US since 2002!!!
Some states allow outside observers in polling places as state laws vary in this respect. If Texas State law was broken in 2008 by OSCE, that does not grant them the right to do so again.

Texas State election law mandates that all poll watchers be a registered voter of the county if the election is countywide; of that part of the county in which the election is held if the election is less than countywide; or of a political subdivision in which the election is held. [Sec. 33.031]. There is no provision that allows a foreigner to qualify as a poll watcher.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,867
2,343
Some states allow outside observers in polling places as state laws vary in this respect. If Texas State law was broken in 2008 by OSCE, that does not grant them the right to do so again.
I am not aware that the OSCE broke texas law in 2008, can you please post that link? I apologize if someone already posted the article about them being found guilty of this and the outcome.
 

chemisttree

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,029
33
I am not aware that the OSCE broke texas law in 2008, can you please post that link? I apologize if someone already posted the article about them being found guilty of this and the outcome.
I am not aware tha the OSCE broke Texas law in 2008 either, they only say they were present in San Antonio during the 2008 election. But if they did, it doesn't grant them the right to do it again. You will note that OSCE wrote a letter to the State Department asking that Federal officials ensure that they are not restrained in their activities in Texas. OSCE asked our Federal Government to overrule Texas state law.

Perhaps this was a result of them not being able to directly oversee the voting process in 2008 and 2010? The Final Report notes that, "OSCE/ODIHR LEOM observers could not follow election day proceedings in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas because laws in these states do not allow access for non-party observers to polling stations." Actually they weren't allowed for other reasons in the state of Texas which had more to do with the fact that they weren't registered voters. Interesting they would put a partisan spin on the rationale. We do know that OSCE has lobbied repeatedly to change their access to polling locations in states like Texas where they are forbidden to observe by law. From their 2010 mid term election report:
In keeping with its OSCE commitments, the US has regularly invited the OSCE/ODIHR to observe federal elections. However, despite repeated OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, US
federal law does not provide minimum standards for access of observers to US elections.
State laws vary significantly with regard to observation, resulting in uneven, and at times,
restricted access for international observers.
So we know what they really want now, don't we?
 

Related Threads for: Arresting Impartial Observers?

  • Posted
2
Replies
32
Views
3K
Replies
28
Views
4K
  • Posted
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Posted
3 4 5
Replies
103
Views
14K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
12
Views
3K
  • Posted
2
Replies
39
Views
3K
Replies
56
Views
5K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top