The Kremlin requested it send election monitors for the upcoming U.S. general election, but the State Department “categorically rejected” the proposal, reported RT and state-run media Izvestia on Thursday.
The U.S. State Department denied the allegation—a “political stunt,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told Politico—saying that each state decides whether to accept monitors. He added that Russia refused to participate in a delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—which RT said allowed Russia limited access. The delegation will send 439 people to observe the U.S. election, with at least one Russian.
At least three states—Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas—did deny Russian observers, reported USA Today.
"We've allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia," said Meg Casper, spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler. She said the request for monitors is a "propaganda ploy" and that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security "told us not to do this," reported USA Today.
Oklahoma said “it is prohibited under state law to allow anyone except election officials and voters in or around the area where the voting takes place," and Texas responded to the request that, "only persons authorized by law may be inside of a polling location during voting. All other persons are not authorized and would be committing a Class C misdemeanor crime by entering."
The U.S. has previously accused Russia of meddling with the election by hacking the email server of Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, which Russian Senator Andrey Klimov called “some sort of persecutory delusion," according to RT.
"They imagine that Russians want to distort their elections and somehow intend to do it while acting as observers," said Klimov.