Lawyers, poll watchers and journalists flocked to the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. There, a spirited election challenger and high numbers of recent immigrants registering at the polls added up to some tense confrontations.
The Minnesota Independent reported that based in interviews with three voters, a translator at the precinct was instructing voters he was helping that they should vote for Sen. Norm Coleman. The story also describes the aggressive behavior of the poll challengers toward other translators. The Twin Cities Daily Planet also has an account of the scene at the precinct.
When I visited the polling place, about 3 p.m., I saw a poll challenger quietly challenging a voter’s registration, based on the address on a utility bill not matching an ID card, and then withdrawing his written challenge after a conversation with the election judge. The newly registered voter proceeded to the polls. The challenger declined to comment to me.
Mike Dean, who’s working with the Election Protection Coalition, said his group dispatched attorneys to the precinct when it heard about the problems. “Some individuals were feeling intimidated by this election challenger,” he said. “We worked with the election judges to address the situation.”