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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Texas Snipes at Hillary Clinton in Election-Day Showdown

AUSTIN (CN) - In a Thursday letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Texas attorney general reiterated his threat to arrest and criminally prosecute European election observers if they get within 100 feet of a polling place on Election Day.

Attorney General Greg Abbott continued his war of words with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which on Wednesday told Clinton of its "grave concern" about Abbott's intentions.

Abbott began the diplomatic snit on Tuesday by threatening to arrest OSCE election observers, who he said have no jurisdiction in Texas.

The OSCE responded on Wednesday with a letter expressing its concern to the U.S. Secretary of State.

On Thursday, Abbott continued his war of words in a letter to Foggy Bottom: "It appears that OSCE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election Code," Abbott wrote. "Texas law prohibits unauthorized persons from entering a polling place - or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance - on Election Day. OSCE monitors are expected to follow that law like everyone else."

Abbott added: "If the OSCE does not want to follow Texas law, then perhaps it should send its representatives to another state."

Abbott, who is contemplating a run for governor, said he is concerned that OSCA may have a political agenda.

"OSCE has published policy recommendations and other reports that raise objections to state laws that prohibit convicted felons from voting, prevent voter registration fraud, and require voters to present a photo identification at the polling place," Abbott wrote. "OSCE may object to photo identification laws and prohibitions on felons voting - but our nation's Supreme Court has upheld both laws as entirely consistent with the U.S. Constitution."

Actually, a federal appeals court struck down Texas' voter identification law in August, saying it disenfranchised minorities and the poor.

The law, enacted by the Republican-dominated Legislature in 2011, required Texans to show photo identification to vote, limited to a driver's license, personal ID or concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID or a U.S. citizenship certificate.

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