Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last week threatening criminal prosecution of foreign election observers who come to observe the Nov. 6 general election.Abbott said he worries that election observers from the OSCE will somehow interfere with the election process.Abbott is clearly unfamiliar with the common international practice of observing democratic elections.I served as an election observer in Albania for the OSCE. The day involved arriving at the first of 10 different polling places before it opened; making two visits to each location; watching poll workers hand-count paper ballots, then following the car tasked with delivering those ballots to the Central Election Commission.I observed an election process that was at times chaotic and disorganized.I observed "family voting" where entire families filled out their election ballots together in the same small voting booth. I observed Albanians waiting patiently in line, in the heat, to vote. I observed Albanians not waiting patiently in line and ultimately voting.At no time did I tell anyone what to do or interfere in any way with the integrity of the process. In fact, election observers, through their observations, can help to protect and support the integrity of the election.Election observers watch, visit polling places, gather information and, at the end, write a report about whether the election complied with international standards. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights organizes these observation missions. I worked for this office for more than four years, during which I saw numerous such missions organized.For our upcoming election, the mission is not large. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights will send a "limited election observation mission," deploying 57 experts and long-term observers across the U.S.Texas will not be inundated with foreigners "interfering" at every polling place. At most, we will see a few highly professional and experienced observers who will watch and not interfere in the election process in any way.I hope Abbott can put aside his fears and understand that the OSCE observers are here to do an important job. I hope that as a state we can greet these hard-working individuals with the kind of Texas hospitality I have enjoyed since moving to Fort Worth.I'm left to wonder, however, why anyone would be worried about a few folks wandering around watching an election.Vibrant democracies should not worry about conducting elections in the open for all to see. If Abbott is, as he says, proud of the "measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections" he should be equally proud to have any and all come watch the process firsthand.As for the organization itself, contrary to Gov. Rick Perry's recent tweet, it is not the United Nations sending election observers. It is the OSCE, successor organization to the Helsinki Accords and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.The membership of this organization includes 56 nations. The U.S. is a full participating state of the OSCE and has invited the OSCE to observe this country's elections -- as it has five times before. The OSCE regularly observes elections in participating states. U.S. citizens from Texas and elsewhere are regularly a part of these observation missions in other countries.Just as we expect our citizens to be free from arrest and prosecution when monitoring elections abroad, we must guarantee the same to citizens of other nations serving as election observers in the U.S. -- Texas included.Cynthia Alkon is an Associate Professor of Law at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth.