State Dept., 3 states reject Russian ploy to observe US election

An offer by the Russian Central Elections Commission to send election monitors to observe the U.S. voting process on Nov. 8 has been refused by both the federal State Department and three states, according to reports first published Thursday.

After conversations between the two rival countries on the subject began in late-summer, the State Department suggested Russia participate more readily in OSCE, an international organization which will send over 400 monitors from 10 nations throughout the U.S. to oversee the election. Only a few OSCE observers, at most, will be from Russia.

Despite the rejection, Russia’s elections commissioner, Vasily Likhachev, said Thursday that Moscow will monitor the U.S. election remotely, as it also did in 2012.

According to State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner, Russia’s offer was strictly a “PR stunt.”  Louisiana Secretary of State spokeswoman Meg Casper called it a “propaganda ploy,” elaborating that foreign election monitors have been welcomed in the state before, but “never from Russia.”

The Russian Consul General in Houston, Alexander Zakharov, also requested Kremlin monitors be sent to Oklahoma and Texas, both of which sent letters back explaining that granting such an appeal would violate state law.

“Only persons authorized by law may be inside of a polling location during voting,” wrote Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos. “All other persons are not authorized and would be committing a Class C misdemeanor crime by entering.”

A letter from Zakharov disclosed by the state of Oklahoma requested permission to send a Russian observer to appear “at one of the ballot stations of (the state) with the goal of studying the U.S. experience in organization of (the) voting process.”

Oklahoma Secretary of State, Chris Benge, sent Zakharov a response lamenting that it would be a violation of Sooner State law to comply with the request. “It is truly an amazing system,” Benge concluded.

 

[RT News] [USA Today] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images via CNN]