International election observers planning to visit Texas polling places have “full immunity” from being arrested in the United States, the State Department said when discussing a letter from the Texas Attorney General.
“I’m not going to get into any kind of hypothetical situations or predict where this is going to go other than to say we have every expectation that this will be worked out and to state the fact, which is that under U.S. law they are eligible for immunities,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. Reporters tried to get her to state explicitly that Texas could not arrest election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), but Nuland would only reiterate that OSCE observers have full immunity.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, R-Texas, warned OSCE that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” as The Hill noted.
Nuland dismissed Abbott’s observation that OSCE consulted with Project Vote, a group that was affiliated with ACORN before that now-discredited organization collapsed under the weight of voter fraud charges.
“[I]f there are concerns that Texas authorities have, they have an opportunity through the direct dialogue that’s now going on in Texas with OSCE observers to take up their concerns,” she said. “But the mandate of the OSCE is designed to be absolutely and completely impartial, and that’s what we plan on when we participate and that’s what we’d expect here.”