State Officials In Texas and Iowa Threaten International Monitors With Arrest In Seeking Access To Polling Areas

State officials in Texas and Iowa have succeeded in putting the United States in the company of countries like Iran and North Korea this week after pledging to block access of international observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to polling places — even going as far as threatening to arrest the monitors. The actions are in direct violation with our long-standing position vis-a-vis other nations. It is a shameful position that, again, makes our country look like a hypocrites in demanding such monitoring in other countries but not allowing it in our own.

Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, sent a letter to the 57-member observer mission, warning that “the OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance.”

Thomas Rymer, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, has said that the group always abides by local election laws. He correctly notes however that the denial of access to polling areas suggested by these officials, and the threats of arrest, contradict our own obligations under international law. Both Texas and Iowa officials have threatened to arrest monitors from the OSCE who come within a certain distance to the polling places. In Texas, it is 100 feet. In Iowa it is an extraordinary 300 feet.

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz insisted that “Iowa law is very specific about who is permitted at polling places, and there is no exception for members of this group.” In the 2008 election, international OSCE election observers were turned away from polling stations in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas as well has having problems in areas of Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Admittedly, these monitors act under generally defined provisions but these states are undermining our ability to take such a position in the future in other countries.

Yet, lawyer and Fox News Anchor Greta Van Susteren has defended the threats against international monitors: “The election is none of their business. We ought to be able to police our own election.” Of course, that is precisely the same argument used in Iran, China, and other countries. It is another example of what is often referred to as “American Exceptionalism” that we are simply unique and above the rules that we apply to other nations.

Even though state law may be clear, it is up to the State Department to make known to the states any clear obligations under international agreements. Notably, these monitors have been in the United States after being invited in by George W. Bush — a correct and admirable decision.

Source: Politico

156 thoughts on “State Officials In Texas and Iowa Threaten International Monitors With Arrest In Seeking Access To Polling Areas”

  1. Rafflaw,

    I hope you are right, because the two of them are dupes of the Bush/Cheney duo. One idiot plus one evil mastermind equals terror for us and the world.

    We are regarded by the people of the world as the biggest threat. Not muslim extremists.

    Pardon me for barging in.

  2. ID707:

    ok you showed me the light with your brilliant insights. So why would the CIA do that? They all from Yale and dont like a Harvard man?

  3. Bron,

    You are on a roll. Continue throwing out the crap and we’ll know you for a fool. Here I wss thinking that the attention you gave me was due to true love and now I wonder….. I just tried to wise you up on Benghazi.

    You can’t even read what I wrote, but you are not alone with that.

    The CIA got the job, from Poppy Bush if no other, and they farmed it out to Special Forces. Al Quaeda was in no way involved.

    I could give you a rundown on how 5 men could take that compound in less than 15 minutes, but won’t waste my time. You are not military although your mind is closed like many of theirs are.

    They were there for over 3 hours, why? To make a show so the world’s press woke up. And Romney had an attack to present the press 2 minutes after Hillary gave the first bulletin. How could they be so fast. Because it was arranged for them.

    So you are blind, but we knew that. You never get any support here so why do you hang around? Oh yeah, you do get attention. Many of us have that need to, so you are not alone on that. Good luck comprehending the world as it is. And Romney would steal your mom’s bloomers if he could get a good price for them.

    What is he paid for killing ACA? Or putting people out of work by draining the companies of capital?

    Good luch when they come for you.

  4. Elaine:

    No point other than Mass. is a progressive state and has voted left in all but 2 elections.

    The fact that a bunch of progressives dont like a candidate means that they dont like a candidate. It doesnt mean there is something wrong with him.

    Does he beat his wife, is he an alcoholic, has he killed anyone, are his children on drugs and in trouble with the police, has he cheated on his income taxes, molested children? Or does he just not agree that people should keep less of what they earn?

  5. Gene H, I think the problem with the American People failing to recognize the kind of thinking/behavior that goes with religious extremism is that they can only identify it in a foreign context (like Iran having a religious extremist government and doing wrong to Iranian women) and not in their own. It’s like a person who does not wash but who cannot perceive their own body odor. We are leaning more and more toward putting into office some religiously-obsessed lunatic; we have already filled Congress with dozens of such fools. They don’t even fear saying something that betrays them, such as “It is god’s will” to explain a political position they want to promote. It’s shocking that it goes without massive recall initiatives when someone comes out with that crap.

    By the way, wasn’t “It was all god’s will” exactly what George Zimmerman said about his “having to kill” Trayvon Martin?

    Wasn’t “It was Allah’s will” the explanation given by Nidal Hasan after he killed 13 people at Fort Hood?

    We have a lot of real problems with folks doing gods’ work here. We need to concentrate on doing our OWN. You’re right, our position on the way to avoid having a psycho-religious leader should be: DO NOT ELECT HIM!

    And I pray we don’t. :mrgreen:

  6. Bron,

    You missed the point of my comment about Romney losing to Obama in Massachusetts. Romney’s a resident of the Commonwealth and served as our governor. Still, he’s expected to lose this state by a wide margin in the presidential election. He’s not a popular candidate in these parts. That should tell voters from other states something about the man.

    What point are you trying to make?

  7. ID707:

    so the CIA did a black op using al qeada to make Obama look bad?

    you need some O2. A nasal cannula works well and you can carry small canisters in a man bag. Popular in the Nordic countries apparently.

  8. Neither did McGovern, Carter, Clinton, Gore, Kerry and Obama.

    Although they have been right 6 out of 11 times. Statistically they are batting a little over 500. Same as flipping a coin.

  9. Re IRS and Catholic church bishops, 501c etc.

    Usually the FBI would have raided the places ages ago. So a Fed court says clarify, and bureaucrats get the message. Lie low. The catholics will cut our budget and that means jobs, boys and girls.

  10. Bron,
    What are you smoking? Doing? Eating? What desert thingy, Do you mean Benghazi is desert? What a laugh. That is pure Romney propaganda assisted by CIA black ops outsourced to SF mil. But you would not understand.

  11. Gene & Malisha,

    Speaking of religion:

    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops faces IRS complaint over partisan advocacy
    By Eric W. Dolan
    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    The Washington, D.C.-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked the IRS to investigate the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, alleging that numerous bishops had violated federal tax law by engaging in partisan advocacy.

    “As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Conference is barred from any and all political activity, including endorsing candidates for public office. Yet based on the numerous statements and letters made by the bishops as well as the timing of the statements coming so soon before the election, there is ample evidence that the Catholic Bishops are engaged in a concerted and organized effort to make a last ditch effort to persuade members of the Catholic church to vote against President Barack Obama,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan told the IRS on Friday.

    The complaint noted that Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria has urged his parishioners to vote against President Barack Obama. In a letter sent to area Catholics, Jenky said there was nothing more threatening to religious liberty than President Barack Obama and Democrats in the Senate because they supported a new Health & Human Services Department rule that requires most employers to provide free birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Earlier this year, Jenky compared Obama to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

    In addition, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn recently authored a letter in which he said it was “inconceivable to me how Catholics could support” Obama’s policies. The letter blasts Obama for speaking about “women’s rights in the context of abortion and contraception” while allegedly ignoring Catholics’ objections to those issues.

    And the list goes on: Wisconsin Bishop David Ricken has suggested Democrats support “intrinsic evils,” Alaska Bishop Edward J. Burns has compared Vice President Joe Biden’s support of abortion rights to slavery, and Virginia Bishop Paul S. Loverde has indicated that Catholics could help the Church by voting against Obama.

    The Internal Revenue Code prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and charities, from intervening or participating in political campaigns. Citing court rulings, CREW noted that a church or non-profit organization could endanger its tax-exempt status by using “publications and broadcasts to attack some candidates and support others,” even it if hadn’t officially endorsed a candidate.

    However, a spokesperson for the IRS recently said the agency had halted audits of churches engaging in political activity in the last three years. A federal court ordered the IRS to clarify who could authorize the audit of churches in 2009, but the agency has not yet adopted new regulations.

  12. Malisha,

    That’s pretty much what I thought you meant, but thanks for clarifying your position (which happens to coincide with mine). It is important, however, to not take the step of going from what should preclude candidates as a matter of common sense and logic and turning the corner into an unconstitutional test for office. Personally, it’s a huge red flag for me when any candidate for any office mentions his or her religion as it is irrelevant to their function in an office of secular governance and usually pandering of the worst sort.

  13. Elaine:

    “I say that I always knew Romney would lose to Obama in the Commonwealth where he once served as governor. That should tell the voters of this country something about the GOP candidate for president.”

    Not really, Mass. voted for McGovern and Dukakis but they also voted for Reagan Twice. Since 1972 Mass has only voted republican twice. Why should 2012 be any different?

    Romney is not Reagan but Obama is pretty close to Carter and he [Obama] has even had a failure in the desert that in some respects is worse than Carter’s. At least Carter tried to help.

  14. Gene H, I know that. My quote was:

    “Extreme religiosity should naturally exclude ANYONE from becoming President of this country.”

    I don’t suggest that membership in any religion should legally prevent anyone from RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. What I meant by “naturally” was that it should be possible for the people of this country, which has free public education, to understand that if they put some kind of magic-thinking-Biblically-disturbed individual into office, he or she will continue to use the bizarre disturbed thinking process they have grown so accustomed to and that will hurt our country.

    The first time this became really obvious to me was when the Democrats ran Joe Lieberman for vice-president on a ticket meant to show folks that “Not all Democrats are moral bankrupts.” The premise that membership in any kind of extreme religion inoculates against immorality was as stupid as thinking that sexual misconduct with a consenting adult was equivalent to moral degeneracy (although it was obviously equivalent to dumbness in the embarrassing extreme).

    I just think that we should know better than to vote for someone who thinks it’s OK to open up the earth and swallow ten brothers who burned the wrong incense.

    I think we should know better than to vote for someone who thinks it’s OK to “punish” 1/3 the world’s population for not believing silly stories, some of which they have never heard.

    Etc. etc. etc.

  15. George might not even speak. He might just be a poster child in his “flight jacket”. They’ll roll him in and out, seated in his fighter jet that he flunked out of flying.

    Now if the Diebold machines in Cleveland can work without power, then we have a chance.
    Climate change anyone? Scct change anyone? “Democracy” change anyone?

  16. Elaine,
    It is disgusting that a speech by a former President of the US is closed to the press. I wonder what they were talking about??

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