Vote! And don’t let dirty tricks scare you away from the polls


Voter intimidation is the name of the game for True the Vote and other election vigilantes, according to an October report in The Atlantic. In Houston in 2010, they turned out in force.

Among other things, poll observers were accused of hovering over voters, blocking lines of people who were trying to cast ballots, and, in the words of Assistant County Attorney Terry O’Rourke, “getting into election workers’ faces.”

Then there are the ominous “Voter Fraud is a felony” ads placed on billboards in poor neighborhoods in Wisconsin, and taken down by Clear Channel because they were a violation of its policy against anonymous funding of political ads. I just spotted that ad on a bus stop in Minneapolis today, so they’re still running in low-income neighborhoods here.

Another Atlantic article, published November 1, cites more anti-voting organizing efforts:

There were the fake letters on official-looking letterhead in Florida notifying people they’d have to prove their citizenship to vote.

There were mailers in Ohio and Arizona listing the wrong election date. There were robocalls telling Virginians they could vote by phone for convenience. In Pennsylvania, despite the voter ID law being blocked in court, the state kept putting up posters and sending mailers telling people they would be “required to show photo ID on Election Day.” In Wisconsin, Romney campaign poll watchers are being trained with misleading information (though not outrageously so).

The best response to this kind of intimidation is to get out there and vote. A couple of quick points:

1) You CAN register to vote at the polls on election day in Minnesota.

2) You do NOT need to show photo ID to vote this year.

3) You must vote in the precinct where you live.

Just click on and you can:

find your polling place;

check your registration;

get a sample ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was on MPR News this morning answering a lot of questions about where to vote, voting with disabilities, voting for homeless persons, how to vote if you’re in the hospital, and much more. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.