Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade said Friday that European election observers have caused no problems with the state’s voting process, but she declined to criticize state Attorney General Greg Abbott for threatening them with arrest. Abbott sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, complaining about the presence in Texas of members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Abbott’s letter was the latest round in a public spat that began Tuesday when he warned the group’s representatives to stay at least 100 feet from all polling places and said they would be subject to “criminal prosecution” if they failed to comply with that requirement.
In response, OSCE contacted the U.S. State Department, requesting that organization representatives not be “restrained in their activities” in Texas.
The Texas Election Code prohibits election observers from entering a precinct polling site unless they have received a certificate of appointment from a political party or group, and are qualified voters in the county in which they plan to serve.
Abbott’s letter to Clinton accused the OSCE of harboring a “political agenda,” and reiterated his threat to have OSCE observers arrested if they attempted to enter a polling site on Election Day.
OSCE, an international organization represented by 56 nations, has been monitoring elections across the United States since 2002.