Minnesota Majority is urging supporters to commit civil disobedience by wearing their "Please ID Me" buttons at the polls today. A federal judge banned the buttons Monday, but the conservative group told followers to go ahead and wear buttons and Tea Party slogan T-shirts anyway.
Minnesota Majority is one of several conservative groups--together with Minnesota Voters Alliance, Freedom Council and the Northstar Tea Party Patriots--banding together as Election Integrity Watch. The group is obsessed with the idea that Minnesota faces widespread voter fraud, although that myth has been widely debunked, by both Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Jay Weiner, author of a book about the 2008 recount.
Still, the alliance has now rallied 10,265 people to monitor the polls with notebooks and video cameras. Or, at least that's how many signed up online. Here in the newsroom, no one has actually seen any live person monitoring the polls.
Anyway, the e-mail, sent out last night, according to Talking Points Memo, explains that volunteers who wear the buttons risk getting a petty misdemeanor.
More specifically, the e-mail said that will "have a decision to make" if an election judge questions the items they are wearing, Talking Points Memo reports. "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."
Okay, now there's some double-talk going on here--or else there is a split within the movement. Yesterday we talked to Walter Hudson of the North Star Tea Party Patriots, and he said the group would fully comply with the judge's ruling--which means not wearing the buttons.
"Folks will comply with the instructions of election judges," says Walter Hudson, of the North Star Tea Party Patriots. "The ruling being as it is apparently going to come down, we will continue with the aspects of the Election Integrity Watch program that are not affected by it, including the poll watching."
We put in a call to Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, but we haven't reached him. McGrath did, however, confirm to Talking Points Memo that the e-mail went out.