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Texas Attorney General Abbott Threatens To Arrest United Nations Election Observers In Texas—I’ll Buy Any U.N. Election Observers In Houston A Glass Of Texas Wine

United Nations observers will be in the United States to monitor our upcoming elections.

( Above–The United Nations General Assembly Hall. After all the ballots are cast in Texas, they will be flown to New York to be counted by the U.N. The election will be official when U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declares the winners. Photo by Patrick Gruban.)

Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says that any such observers in Texas may face arrest.

From The Huffington Post—

“Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, issued a stern warning this week to members of a United Nations-affiliated delegation expected to be on hand to monitor voting at polling places around the country on Election Day…In a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body created by U.N. charter and responsible for helping to ensure the integrity of elections, among other tasks, Abbott warned the diplomatic poll-watchers that their involvement in U.S. elections could have strong legal repercussions…”It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he writes. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.” Such a restriction makes election monitoring highly difficult. The OSCE announced earlier this month that it would send 44 observers to polling places around the country on Election Day in order to monitor possible disputes that could arise in the voting process. The move came in response to a petition from liberal-leaning voting rights groups, including the NAACP and ACLU, that suggested the OSCE’s presence could help combat what they fear will be a concerted effort to suppress votes from supporters of President Barack Obama.”

Houston hate-speech Clear Channel radio station KTRH mentioned this topic recently on Facebook.

Here is how some KTRH Facebook followers responded—

“i say shoot anyone seeking to come into this country to try and oversee our elections. And shoot anyone who does not have a state or federal picture ID when they show up to vote”

“What next, they’ll be observing in our bedrooms.”

“We do not need the UN interfereing with Texas.Maybe it is time to succeed.”

“Observing from a far? I could care less! Up in our business? I say welcome to Texas and GET A ROPE…..”

“I run the election process in Galveston County. If one of the UN observers shows up at one of our polling locations they will be asked to leave. If they do not, law enforcement will be called to forcibly remove them. Only election workers, bona fide poll watchers and voters are allowed in at the polling sites!”

Absolutely. Our big state of Texas could at any time be put under United Nations control. I am very glad that Attorney General Abbott will protect us from whatever number of the 44 poll observers who may be sent to Texas.

There have been real efforts at voter suppression in Texas. The so-called Texas Voter ID law was struck down by the courts because it targeted minority voters.

Attorney General Abbott backed the ID law even though it sought to make it more difficult for Texans to vote.

Here is information about helping fight voter intimidation in Houston and Harris County.

Here is a report by Common Cause about efforts to suppress the vote in Texas and in others parts of the nation.

I will take any United Nations elections observers in Houston out for a glass of Texas wine should I encounter them at the polls. I’m certain I will be able to identify them by their blue U.N. helmets, and by the black helicopters they will have parked near the voting locations.

Here is the link to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.

Here is the link for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. These are the folks who will be sending the observers.

The OSCE has issued a statement saying Attorney General Abbott’s threats violate international agreements.

From that statement

“Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), expressed his grave concern today over the threat of criminal prosecution of OSCE/ODIHR election observers. This threat, contained in an open letter from the Attorney General of Texas, is at odds with the established good co-operation between OSCE/ODIHR observers and state authorities across the United States, including in Texas, Lenarčič said, adding that it is also contrary to the country’s obligations as an OSCE participating State. The ODIHR Director shared his concerns in a letter to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable,” Lenarčič said. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Damned right. I welcome these observers with open arms. The one-word state motto of Texas is “Friendship.” A threat to arrest people who have every right to be here is not very friendly.

Welcome U.N. Observers! And good luck with your mission of improving the quality of our democracy in Texas. We can use all the help we can get.

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Common Cause Looking For Grassroots Poll Monitors in Harris County—Protect Our Right To Vote

With early voting beginning in Texas, it is important that the right to vote be protected. Common Cause has been working in Texas to make sure that one of our most basic rights is not wrongly threatened. Read below to learn about Common Cause training to become a poll watcher in this election. What you see below is a Common Cause press release. If you can’t make one of the training sessions, call or e-mail Common Cause with the contact information provided in the release below. The final link below will take you to a Common Cause report on efforts to suppress the vote in Texas.

Protect the Vote 2012

Harris County has an unfortunate history when it comes to safeguarding our elections.Take a look at some of the headlines from elections past — it’s not good.

Banned from the Ballot Box – In 2008, KHOU reported that thousands of registration applications may have been improperly rejected.

Voter Intimidation Complaints Get Closer Look – In 2010, reports of voter intimidation from poll watchers were reported in minority precincts across the county.

Help us write a new headline in 2012!

Volunteer as a Grassroots Poll Monitor

  • Assist and engage voters with commonly encountered problems at the polls
  • Report, document and prevent voter intimidation outside of polling locations
  • Make sure every eligible voter is able to vote free from harassment, intimidation or misinformation
For more information about this coalition effort, visit www.866ourvote.org.

There are two trainings this week and space is still available, see below for more information. If you are unable to make either of these trainings, we will announce a schedule for others very soon. If you would like to request a private training for your organization or group or have any other questions, please contact mhaver@commoncause.org.


Protect the Vote 2012

Upcoming Trainings!

Monday, October 22 6-8 p.m.
4299 San Felipe, 2nd Floor
Houston, TX 77027 Wednesday, October 24 6-8 p.m.
SHAPE Community Center
3903 Almeda
Houston, TX 77004RSVP to mhaver@commoncause.org 
or 832-641-2882

Bullies at your Ballot Box?

Read this comprehensive report produced by Common Cause and Demos to learn about the challenges Texas voters may face on Election Day and why your participation is crucial!

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Fort Bend Democratic Party Chair Stephen Brown Talks About Protecting The Right To Vote In Texas In 2012

General Election time is approaching across the nation and here in Texas.

Early voting begins in Texas on October 22 and runs through November 2.  Election Day is November 6.

There have been many concerns in the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote and to deny people the right to vote.

In Texas, a discriminatory voter ID law has been struck down by the courts.

In Harris County, living voters are being asked if they are dead and are in some cases having a hard time reestablishing their right to vote.

Here is a press release by Common Cause that deals specifically with voter suppression issues in Texas.  

I asked Steve Brown, who is Chairman of the Fort Bend Democratic Party here in the Houston area, to write about these issues for Texas Liberal.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Brown.

Here is what Mr. Brown had to say—

October 22, 2012 will be my Election Day. It marks the first day of early voting in Texas. This year, I’m not waiting to vote on Tuesday, November 6th – and for good reason.

Since 2009, a Houston-based Tea Party affiliate, “True the Vote,” has led a crusade advocating for laws found to intentionally suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. At their annual 2012 conference, they vowed to recruit over one million poll watchers for Election Day. These self-proclaimed voter fraud vigilantes want to use their poll watchers to intimidate and challenge minority votes at the polls this Fall.

True the Votes’ modus operandi is clear. They are targeting minorities, the poor and students. They want to purge voters, challenge the right of eligible voters to cast their ballots and bully everyone else on Election Day.

In a recent report Bullies at the Ballot Box, Common Cause examines True the Vote and the state laws that are intended to protect voters from unnecessary harassment. They found that True the Vote has built a reputation of hovering over people as they vote and engage in confrontational conversations. In almost every case, they chose polling locations in predominately minority communities. Some voters were overheard leaving the booths in tears saying that they would never vote again. They also found that Texas law could be stronger by placing the burden of proof on the person that’s challenging someone’s right to vote and not the voter.

I’m voting on October 22nd because on Election Day I’ll be watching the bullies, and making sure that they don’t harass any eligible voter.

There’s a practical reason why I’m voting early as well. As a Party Chairman, I know that the more “certain” Democratic voters that I can turnout on the first week of early vote, the easier it is for me to target new and unlikely voters. Democrats have a history of being outvoted during early vote, so we spend all of Election Day trying to catch up. By voting more Democrats early, we can focus our attention on persuading a larger universe of Democrats unlikely to vote that their vote matters. With limited resources, I would much rather spend time persuading those Democrats as opposed to dedicating dollars to target procrastinating Democrats.

Due to redistricting, some Election Day polling places may have moved.  I would hate for someone to go to the wrong location, and risk not being in line by the 7 PM deadline.  Early voting is much more flexible allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location within the county they reside.

This election is too critical to wait until November 6. I don’t want to wait to see what scheme True the Vote is hatching next. I’m pledging to vote on the first day of early vote. Before we go to work, we should vote. Before we take our kids to day care, we should vote. Before running our errands, we should vote.

We should be the first person in line to vote on October 22nd, because some would wish for us not to vote at all. #WeVoteFirst

Steve Brown is the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party. Connect with Steve on Facebook at facebook.com/sbrown2 and on Twitter at twitter.com/electstevebrown

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments