Vote 2014
by Steve Timmer
Nov 3, 2014, 9:00 AM

Voting and challenges

Here are a few comments about negotiating the voting booth on Tuesday, November 4th. If you have a problem when trying to vote, there will be a DFL poll watcher at some polling places, and there are multiple numbers to call. The easiest one to remember, though, is 1.866.OUR.VOTE.

The paragraph at the top of each page of the voter rolls is the oath you are making when you sign in, affirming your eligibility, that is, you are eighteen, a citizen of the US, a resident of Minnesota for 20 days, a resident of the precinct (where you sleep), and that you are under no legal disability to vote (an on paper felon or under guardianship with your voting rights taken away by court order).

A statement made under oath is a serious thing; please treat it that way.

Tea Party-type election judges will sometimes challenge you on the oath. Last cycle, I had a judge, in the precinct where I have lived for many years, stab her finger at the oath, and bark, in a challenging way, “Do you know what this is?”

She picked the wrong person. Without looking at it, I told her what it was and a bit of what was contained in it. The election judge sitting next to her beamed at me.

And later, I made a trip to our city clerk’s office to register a complaint.

There might be some officious ball of grievance and resentment from the Republican Party there to challenge you from a list developed by the party. Ignore them. The challenger will speak to a judge challenging the eligibility of persons on their list, and a judge might ask you some questions based on the challenge.

If the things in the oath, referred to earlier, are true, stick to your guns. The next step would be for the challenger to make an oath as a challenger.

A person challenging your eligibility has to have personal knowledge of the grounds for a challenge. If the challenger doesn’t have personal knowledge, signing the challenger’s oath that s/he does is perjury. You could remind the challenger of that. Actually, you aren’t supposed to talk to a challenger, and s/he isn’t supposed to talk to you. But you might ask the election judge to convey the message. But remember the number 1.866.OUR.VOTE.

A challenge based on on a list given to a challenger is not personal knowledge; it’s hearsay. Put another way, if you take the list from the challenger, does s/he still know the grounds for the challenge? (And I saw it on a list and remember it is not personal knowledge, either.)

Since I have never been in the voter suppression business, I don’t know, but I suspect that people who are anointed with oil and told to go forth and suppress votes are told not to sign an oath based on a list given to them; the challengers are just there mostly to provide some elbows and knees under the basket.

Finally, if you register at the polls, or you’re voting for the first time in a new precinct after registering by mail or online, you WILL have to establish two things: who you are, and that you live in the precinct. The easiest way to do that is with a Minnesota driver’s license with a current address. If you have recently moved, you won’t have that. There are other ways to prove these two things. Here’s he scoop on what will work. This is a PDF from the Secretary of State’s office. You can get a bigger copy at Scribd, where I have posted the document.

Now, get out there and vote.

Election Day Registration by Steve Timmer

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