On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in a bit of international chest-pounding, sent a strongly worded letter to the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe threatening criminal charges if the group carried out a hinted-at plan to show up in Texas come November 6.
Today, apparently worried that he didn't make his point sufficiently clear, Abbott delivered sent a lengthy missive to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning her against allowing some snooty Europeans to meddle in Texas' elections.
Clinton, it seems, received a letter yesterday from the OCSE asking her to ensure election observers are not "restrained in their activities" while in the state. But Abbott contends that he has every right to restrain their activities, per provisions set out in Texas law.
"It appears that OCSE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election code," which prohibits unauthorized persons from entering or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place, Abbott writes. "OCSE monitors are expected to follow the law like everyone else."
The U.S. signed an international agreement in 1989 to henceforward allow the OSCE to observe elections, but only "to the extent allowed by law," he writes.
"As you know, in the United States that means both state and federal law," Abbott writes, suggesting that the OCSE is unfamiliar with the United States' federalist system.
He then does his best to fire up the base, reminding Clinton that the OSCE representative leading the team of U.S. election observers is from the Netherlands, which requires photo ID to vote -- the same type of law the federal government has so strenuously objected to in Texas. He even quotes Jimmy Carter in a way that suggests the former president supports voter ID. And lets not forget the OCSE's work with Project Vote, an "overtly partisan" group founded and closely affiliated with ACORN.
He ends with a simple request: work with the "unelected bureaucrats" at the OCSE to ensure they comply with Texas law and remind them that, if they don't, Greg Abbott will be ready for them.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.