Minnesota Majority, one of the groups behind the anti-voter fraud initiative in the state called “Election Integrity Watch,” told supporters in an e-mail last night to go ahead and wear their “Please I.D. Me” buttons and Tea Party apparel to the polls today despite a federal judge’s ruling yesterday that such items would interfere with the elections process.
The e-mail said that anti-voter fraud advocates will “have a decision to make” if an election judge questions the items they are wearing. “You can simply remove or cover the challenged item and you’ll be allowed to vote, or you can refuse and demand your right to vote and the election judge will allow you to vote, while also recording your name and you could be charged with a petty misdemeanor,” says the e-mail.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the “Please I.D. Me” buttons being distributed by the anti-voter fraud coalition “are designed to affect the actual voting process at the polls by intimating that voters are required to show identification before voting.” Judge Joan Ericksen added that “This intimation could confuse voters and election officials and cause voters to refrain from voting because of increased delays or the misapprehension that identification is required.”
As for the Tea Party apparel, the judge said it “communicates support for the Tea Party movement which is associated with certain candidates and political views.”
After two county attorneys decided that the buttons would break the ban on campaign materials at the polling place, Minnesota Majority decided to sue last week. The judge’s ruling against the group’s request came down yesterday.
But pay no attention to the judge behind that robe, Minnesota Majority told their supporters in an e-mail sent Monday night.
“For now, we are recommending that you proceed with wearing your Election Integrity buttons or Tea Party apparel to the polls, knowing you are within your rights, but don’t allow yourself to be disenfranchised,” the group said in an e-mail.
Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority confirmed to TPMMuckraker that group sent the e-mail but did not immediately reply to a request for an interview.
The e-mails says that there is a “huge problem” with the Minnesota election law that prohibits political campaign materials in the polling place “when you start to consider how some election judges might choose to define ‘political materials’.”
“For example, if you wear a Vikings shirt to the polls tomorrow, an election judge could decide that the shirt represents ‘political materials’ because a particular candidate supports taxpayer funding for a new Vikings stadium,” the e-mail said. “Someone could be asked to remove a crucifix because an election judge decides that because there is a Catholic candidate on the ballot that the crucifix represents an endorsement of the candidate. In the absence of any clear standards, these are real possibilities.”
Voters shouldn’t allow themselves to be disenfranchised, the e-mail says. “Make sure and vote, whether that means removing the questioned materials or risking a fine,” it said.
“This is just another example of “government gone wild” with exercising authority not granted to it by our laws or the Constitution,” said the e-mail.