A federal judge ruled on Monday that conservatives in Minnesota rallying against voter fraud will not be allowed to wear their “Please I.D. Me” buttons to polling locations, according to the Associated Press.
Minnesota Majority, one of the groups that is taking part in the Election Integrity Watch group, sued last week because of a ban on their pins at polling places. County Attorneys in two counties in Minnesota said those buttons count as campaign material. Minnesota Majority countered that their buttons were protected by the First Amendment and that the voter I.D. issue was not on the ballot — and thus the buttons weren’t a violation of electioneering laws.
But Judge Joan Ericksen ruled on Monday in Minneapolis that the buttons could be seen as having a political message after an attorney argued on behalf of elections officials that some candidates have said they want a photo I.D. law.
Minnesota has been the location of a strong anti-voter fraud push by Tea Party and conservative groups. That movement has included $500 bounties on voter fraud convictions and anti-voter fraud billboards featuring an African-American man and others behind bars. Minnesota Majority also touted the recently-announced voter fraud charges against felons who voted in 2008, but only about five percent of the people who Minnesota Majority originally alleged had illegally voted were charged in the end.
Full voter fraud coverage here.
Late update: Ericksen’s ruling has been filed with the court. “The record suggests that the buttons are designed to affect the actual voting process at the polls by intimating that voters are required to show identification before voting,” she wrote. “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.”
“The buttons are also associated with a political movement to require voters to produce identification,” she wrote. “The Tea Party apparel communicates support for the Tea Party movement which is associated with certain candidates and political views.” Read the whole thing here.