Chapman: OSCE will watch from afar

Published 11:09 am Monday, November 5, 2012

Secretary of State Beth Chapman said Monday that only qualified electors will serve as poll watchers in Alabama during Tuesday’s election.

Chapman was responding to reports that officials with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) would be “watching everything and everyone” on Election Day.  Chapman said that “they better watch it from afar” because even she, as the state’s chief election official is not allowed inside the polling places other than to vote.

Chapman said that Alabama citizens should know that only qualified electors in Alabama can be appointed as poll watchers and workers and no other watchers are to be inside the polling place on Election Day.

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“The visitors will definitely not be allowed inside polling locations on Election Day and will have absolutely no direct involvement with the voting process,” Chapman said.

Even though OSCE says they are not directly affiliated with the United Nations, Chapman said that Alabama elections are never a place for UN involvement.

“They may believe that they are going to be watching ‘everything and everyone’ on Tuesday, but the truth of the matter is, they will be watching what they can from at least 30 feet behind the doors of a polling place.  Anyone who sees otherwise should call our office immediately,” she said.

Anyone in any polling place being approached by or observing anyone from the OSCE is asked to call the Secretary of State’s hotline at 1-800-274-VOTE.