October 26, 2012

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: The Attorney General of Texas Slaps Down the UN.  I hear Alabama has also served warning UN observers not welcome.  What I wonder is what is wrong with the other states, including mine.  Guys, if it’s not clear to you, the UN is in the grip of the thugocracies of the world.  It was predictable.  There’s more of them than of us.  Their hatred of the only liberal democracy in the Middle East is proof of this, if you need it.  Why we still fun this naive project is something else.  Nostalgia for past illusions?

UPDATE: From Reader Mark Lardas:

I am an election judge in Galveston County on Nov 6, so I have a dog in the fight.

There is both less and more than meets the eye on this story. Greg Abbott, the Attorney General of Texas informed these UN “Observers” of Texas State Law.

Basically, in Texas no one can remain within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling place if they do not have business there. What groups are permitted to remain?

1. Voters and those assisting a voter until the vote has been cast.
2. Election workers (this includes the staff running the polling place and county and state officials involved with running the election)
3. Appointed Poll Watchers
4. Federal election observers
5. Individuals whose normal activities require them to be at the polling location. (One example — teachers and students at a school being used as a polling place.)

Since they are unlikely to be voter, election workers, Federal election observers or have jobs at polling places, the only way they can remain at a polling place is if they are appointed poll watchers.

Who appoints poll watchers? Any political party, candidate, or ballot initiative interest group (pro or con) can — if the party, candidate or initative is on the ballot being voted. So, if the UN Observers qualify as poll watchers, they can be appointed by a relevant interested party. What does it take to qualify as a poll watcher? You have to be a qualified voter in the county in which the polling place is located. (For the full legal language see Chapter 33 of the Texas Election Code.) So the only UN Observers that can enter and remain within a polling place as poll watchers must be qualified voters in the county in which they choose to observer. And they are not admitted as UN Observers, but as appointed poll watchers representing a party, candidate or initative group. (I suppose they could arrange to assist voters — assistants do not have to be qualified voters or even US citizens, but assistants have to leave after that voter casts a ballot.)

As an election judge, if I observe anyone who does not have business within the polling place loitering there it is my responsibility to see that these individuals leave. I start out by informing them of the law and asking them to leave. If they refuse, I call the local police and have them removed. It does not matter whether the individual is a drunk trying to make sure their spouse votes “the right way” or the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Mark Lardas
League City, TX

UPDATE: Because this year I’m a poll observer, I’m a little more cognizant than I would otherwise have been, so I asked Mark if TX, unlike CO, does not require observers to be registered to vote in the state (in some states in that county.)  He checked, and yes TX does.  (He never needed to know it because if people present credentials he assumes they’re allowed to be there.)  The only way non citizens can be around is if they’re engaged in “voter assist.”  This of course makes me wonder why CO hasn’t protested the UN “observers.”

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