• International observers say states out of line (Politico): "The group hosting international election observers said Thursday that state officials in Iowa and Texas are needlessly blocking access to the decades-old process the United States already has agreed to, an official said Thursday. Thomas Rymer, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said the group will abide by election laws after officials in those states warned about possible criminal prosecution if the observers came within hundreds of feet of polling places."
• Editorial: Texas, an election model for autocrats (The Washington Post): "When it comes to democracy and election transparency, Greg Abbott, the attorney general of Texas, is apparently taking his cues from post-Soviet autocrats like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev."
• Weber, Lampson find friends in high places in race to replace Ron Paul (Houston Chronicle): "They’re bringing out the big guns. In one of the most important congressional races in Texas, and the Houston area’s only competitive contest, Nick Lampson and Randy Weber are using two well-known surrogates to help them win Ron Paul’s old seat in Texas’s District 14."
New in The Texas Tribune:
• UT/TT Poll: Texans Are Leery of Government: "News flash: Texans aren't big fans of the state government in Austin, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. But if you really want to get their dander up, ask about the government in Washington."
• Visualization: Executions on Perry's Watch at 250: "The execution of Donnie Lee Roberts Jr., 41, on Wednesday for the 2003 shooting death of a Polk County woman marked the 250th execution during Gov. Rick Perry’s tenure, and the 12th in 2012. The total is the largest — by far — under any recent governor in the United States."
• Oversight Committee Again Targets TWIA Costs: "While coastal residents told lawmakers that increasing policy rates are harming the coastal economy, state lawmakers grilled windstorm insurance administrators over money spent on consultants at a legislative hearing Thursday."