Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Minnesota Majority Voter Suppression Tactics

In the absence any evidence that enough voter fraud exists in America to turn any election, conservatives are pouring money into "uncovering" instances of voter fraud. Last night, I was able to attend an event with one of the foot soldiers of the voter intimidation effort in Minnesota, the blogger over at Fightin' Words, North Star Tea Party Patriots Media Relations Director Walter Hudson. In prepared remarks, he identified two goals for his tea party group this year: elect judges and stop voter fraud. He willingly acknowledged that there is no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud; so it is incumbent on the coalition of Minnesota Majority, the North Star Tea Party Patriots, and Voters Alliance to manufacture that evidence. Conservative paranoid delusion holds that the 2008 Minnesota Senate race was stolen by fraudulent Democratic votes.

When pressed on exactly what the Minnesota Majority tactics would be, Mr. Hudson gave this answer:

1) His group would wear buttons asking elections officials to ID the wearer. A federal judge yesterday instructed that this counts as electioneering and could not be done in a polling place. 2) The group would be flagging any buses which delivered voters to the polls, as the conservative groups believe that buses of voters vote multiple times at multiple locations 3) Staffing a hotline to help document cases such as these.

Obvious problem with point #2 (explicated at 1:58 in the video) is that there is no obvious way to tell if a bus carrying "a bunch of voters" is engaging in double-voting. The Minnesota coalition of conservatives pursuing this "voter fraud" story will clearly presume that any organized group of voters is engaging in voter fraud. After all, the warrant for believing that voter fraud was being perpetrated by ACORN despite evidence of an absence was the fact that they were registering low-income voters.

The intimidation began long before election day with ads depicting African Americans behind bars on billboards in the Twin Cities and ads featuring handcuffs in bus stops. Mr. Hudson acknowledges that it does look like the motivations behind the voter intimidation may be racist, but he's not in a position to confirm that.

Mr. Hudson even acknowledges that his group and the groups that he works with could be leading to voter suppression. His defense? Well, it's the voter's fault if he or she is vulnerable to intimidation. A voter should know their rights and not trust the partisans telling them that they can't vote. A voter should know the law backwards and forwards and not trust Mr. Hudson and his group, who plan to wear badge-like buttons which imply a picture ID requirement which doesn't exist in Minnesota.

In the midst of all this hysteria over unseen and unseeable voter fraud, remember that examples of conservatives breaking the law will not be in short supply in Minnesota today.

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