One of the conservative groups in Minnesota supporting the “Election Integrity Watch” program is considering filing suit over the ban on their “Please I.D. Me” buttons in polling places.
“It’s simply a First Amendment issue, so we’re going to fight them on this,” Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority told TPMMuckraker. “We’re consulting our attorneys right now and preparing a possible federal lawsuit.”
McGrath said that the buttons are not designed to influence the election. “They are considering it campaign material, which isn’t allowed in the polling place,” McGrath said.
He said if they ultimately decide to file, they will do so in the next couple of days. He alleges that the county attorneys who have decided that the buttons should be considered campaign material are misreading state law as well.
“Nothing on our button is on a ballot this year,” McGrath added. “There isn’t any kind of an initiative to require voter I.D., there isn’t an issue of election integrity on the ballot.”
“I’m finding it rather astonishing, the resistance we’re getting from our elections officials. I would think that they would be happy that we were helping to uphold the integrity of our elections system,” McGrath said.
McGrath also defended Minnesota Majority’s study which originally found that 899 felons had illegally voted in Hennepin County in 2008. The County Attorney only found 43 chargeable cases.
“A lot of the cases that they decided not to charge were in fact ineligible voters that they just couldn’t prove they did know [they were ineligible],” McGrath said.
He also admitted that the Election Integrity Watch effort his group was supporting alongside Minnesota Voters Alliance and the Northstar Tea Party Patriots would not stop felons from voting.
“They know that we’re watching, they know that these reviews are happening. The fact that people are being charged and convicted right now should act as a deterrent to anybody that knows they’re not supposed to be voting,” McGrath said.
“It’s not just felons, we’ve got evidence of people being paid to vote, people being paid gift cards to hop on a bus and drive from polling place to polling place to vote multiple times under different identities,” McGrath said.
As proof, McGrath gave TPMMuckraker what he said was a precinct incident log filled out by an election judge in the 9th Precinct of Ward 1 in Minneapolis on Election Day 2008. “A voter reported someone who was handing out voter literature w/in 100 ft of polls - Not true. He had handed out several free meal cards for voting,” the report says. It is unclear if there was any further investigation or whether the voter was given the meal card for voting for a particular candidate or party.
“This corroborates anecdotal reports we have received about voters being compensated for their votes,” McGrath said in an e-mail.
McGrath also said that a New Brighton, MN letter carrier “told us that while making his rounds on Election Day, 2008, he spoke to a man in an apartment building who showed him 3 gift cards he said he was given as compensation for voting multiple times. We’re working on getting an affidavit from him.”