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My friends at Minnesota Majority and other Tea Party and clean elections groups, who maybe more than others have great concern about the legitimacy of their voting rolls and processes, started a collaborative effort called “Election Integrity Watch” to investigate potential violations and to promote voter I.D. requirements in the state. One of their projects was to create an advertisement that informs citizens that voter fraud is a felony (with an image of two wrists in handcuffs, like you see in many ads that fight criminal activity), and gives a toll-free phone number to report suspected vote fraud. The poster also features an image of an eye, as in, “we are watching you,” similar to the Neighborhood Watch anti-crime efforts.
Well, a couple of county elections officials want to prohibit the Tea Partiers and Election Integrity Watchers from wearing buttons (that say “Please I.D. Me”) and apparel that highlight these causes, even though they have nothing to do with candidates or issues on the ballot. So the Election Integrity Watch collaborators filed a lawsuit against the officials and the Secretary of State to allow them to do so.
In addition, Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison on Thursday crashed the press conference that announced the lawsuit, and took over the podium to accuse EIW of voter intimidation, among other things. When challenged he weakly explained why he objected to the voter integrity effort (“I don’t like the handcuffs;” “It seems to be electioneering”), and then he was caught in outright deception, which he could not defend: