Minnesota wannabe poll watchers beware

While raising concerns about potential voter fraud, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called on his supporters to monitor polling places on Election Day.

In Minnesota, there are strict limitations in place for such activity. State law allows for “challengers” but not “poll watchers.”

“Minnesota has quite a few guardrails,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Simon, the state’s top election official, said each political party is allowed to send one person to each polling place. He said those people can challenge someone’s eligibility to vote. Also, a challenge can come from an eligible voter from the same precinct as the voter being challenged.

But Simon said state law requires that challenges must be based on personal knowledge of a voter’s eligibility.

“They can’t be made on the basis of speculation or hunch or a bad vibe or anything else,” he said.

Designated challengers must follow a code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits them from speaking to the voter. They can speak only to an election judge about a challenge. They cannot make lists or take photos.

Other people who want to keep an eye on polling places can do so if they stay at least 100 feet from the building, according to Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky. He said in the case of public buildings, such as schools, those people must stay off the property.

“As long as they’re the appropriate distance away from our buildings then that’s fine,” Mansky said.

  • David P.

    I’ve served as an election judge for the past 12 years. The only infractions I have had to repeatedly deal with have been poll watchers confronting Latino voters waiting their turn in line, illegally asking for their ID. I’ve had to intervene and escort these poll watchers out of the polling place. I have never had an attempted double vote or any reason to suspect that anyone was voting fraudulently.

    • motytrah

      We had a self appointed poll watcher take a bunch of photos of the roster. That turned into a deal as the cops got involved. Most of the actual poll watchers are pretty well behaved.

      As an interesting side note the national GOP party has been barred for the last 19 years from having poll watchers. What used to happen in the 80s is the poll watchers would go to heavily democratic areas and object to just about everything in order to slow the lines down. They hoped the long lines would cause people to give up and go home. Next year the consent decree expires and the national GOP will again be allowed to send in their own watchers.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Just make sure you bring your gun to the polls. If any Trump pervert confronts you just show them that you’re packin’ heat, and watch them soil themselves…
    (Just kidding, folks. Even us northerners will leave the sidearm at home, for the most part).

    • Geezer44

      That’s a pretty dumb comment to make, IMHO.

      • Gordon near Two Harbors

        All in fun…

        • None of your Business

          Stupid comment. Ignorant really.