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Russian observers to be literally knocking on doors of US polling stations

November 06, 2012, 6:48 UTC+3
As members of the US election monitoring mission of the OSCE they have no official status of observers
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WASHINGTON, November 6 (Itar-Tass) — Russian observers will be literally “knocking on the doors of the polling stations” at the US presidential elections on Tuesday, State Duma deputy and member of the State Duma committee for security and counteraction to corruption Ilya Kostunov told Itar-Tass on Monday.

He and several other Russian observers Olga Alimova, Sergei Chizhov, Eduard Markin and Oganes Oganyan are members of the US election monitoring mission from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“On Tuesday we will be literally knocking on the doors of the polling stations and will be asking to let us in,” Kostunov said, adding that they “have no certificates of observers.”

In this respect, the Russian lawmaker recalled a story in the US state Texas, where Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, warning that the Texas legislation bans the OSCE observers to enter the polling stations. Abbott noted that the staying of the OSCE observers 100 feet (little more than 30 metres) away from the entrance to a polling station can be found as a criminal offence, and the refusal to obey to these requirements can entail criminal persecution for the OSCE representatives for violation of the Texas law.

“We will not go to Texas, but hope that in other states we will face a more respectful attitude to international observers,” Kostunov went on to say. Meanwhile, he noted that “the United States did not send an official invitation to them.” “We will sooner be guests than observers, because the US did not grant the status of observers to us,” the deputy explained. “It is difficult to find out,” why this happened. “The US has many problems in their election system, they are perfectly aware of them. Probably they do not want the international community to note their shortcomings to them as well,” the Russian lawmaker said.

Kostunov noted that though they arrived in the US as observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, “we cannot be recognized as observers at concrete polling stations.” “There are no common rules, each election committee works automatically,” he added.

Kostunov emphasized that “the list (for visiting) of the polling stations in neighbouring states was offered” to members of the observer mission. “It is clear that we are primarily interested in swing states, but not those states, where everything is predetermined,” he said. “I do not know about other members of the mission, but I would like to see, how the voting is organized in big blocks, where unfavourable layers of the population live,” Kostunov underlined.


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