Election Day Policies Violate State Statute and First Amendment of the US Constitution
ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Election Integrity Watch coalition announced today they have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court in response to election policies they believe will violate Minnesota voters' civil rights. The complaint names election officials in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties as well as Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Coalition members recently learned of Ramsey County's plan to ban "Tea Party" apparel and the "Please ID Me/Election Integrity Watch" buttons produced and distributed by the Election Integrity Watch coalition. This suspicion was confirmed in phone conversations with Ramsey County Election Chief Joe Mansky.
County Attorney Mike Freeman yesterday announced that Hennepin County would be prohibiting the Election Integrity Watch buttons on the basis that they are campaign materials. State statute defines political and campaign materials as being designed to influence the outcome of an election.
"Clearly, these buttons are not about any specific political candidate, party or ballot question," said Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority, a member organization of the coalition. "This ban is outside state law and a clear violation of our First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution."
Randy Liebo of the North Star Tea Party Patriots agreed and suggested that banning non-campaign Tea Party apparel and Election Integrity buttons could suppress voters. "We have heard about the woman who was turned away from the polls in Arizona for simply wearing a Gadsden Flag pin." A Gadsden flag is an early American flag that was commonly in use before the United States adopted the Stars and Stripes. "She was so upset that she left and never returned to vote. She was disenfranchised by a policy that's just wrong," said Liebo.
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Erick Kaardal of Mohrman & Kaardal, said the law is with them. "Where similar lawsuits have been brought in other states, like in Texas, election officials have backed down and removed these unwarranted obstacles to voters' rights," said Kaardal. "They know these kind of policies are wrong."
Click here (http://www.electionintegritywatch.com/documents/ElectionIntegrityWatchComplaint2010-10-28.pdf) to see a copy of the complaint filed in US District Court. Election Integrity Watch is a coalition of Minnesota Majority, North Star Tea Party Patriots and Minnesota Voter's Alliance. It is a citizen-based fraud prevention program. For more information, including a copy of the legal complaint, visit www.ElectionIntegrityWatch.com.
SOURCE Election Integrity Watch Coalition