Posted Oct 26, 2012 01:27 pm CDT
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has a message for international poll watchers protesting his threat to prosecute them: “Bring it.”
Abbott delivered the challenge in a tweet to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, the Associated Press reports. The OSCE sends observers to poll locations throughout the United States, but Abbott has bristled at the group’s plans to visit Texas.
OSCE took offense after Abbott warned the group in a letter that Texas law bars campaign workers and loiterers from maintaining a presence within 100 feet of a polling location entrance. Violations, he said, could result in criminal prosecution.
Abbott has expressed concern about reports that OSCE met with groups opposed to voter ID laws, though OSCE says it has no plans to influence or interfere with the election. Abbott explained his concern to Reuters. “Our concern is that this isn’t some benign observation but something intended to be far more prying and maybe even an attempt to suppress voter integrity,” he said.
The voter ID law in Texas has been blocked by a federal judge. Abbott wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the case.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press briefing on Thursday that OSCE’s election observers generally have diplomatic immunity “as we expect of our people when we participate in OSCE delegations,” the AP story says. She said Texas has been reassured that that OSCE would comply with state laws.
Abbott wasn’t reassured. In a letter to the State Department released hours after Nuland’s briefing, he continued to threaten “legal consequences” for any violations of state law.