Eden Prairie has a large immigrant population. Always has, and probably/hopefully always will. Way back when, when the City laid out the master plan, city residents and city planners worked to ensure there would be ample affordable housing in Eden Prairie. We’ve seen years ago Hmong come and go; then Russians; now it’s Somali refugees turn to be welcomed.

Except these days, today’s GOP doesn’t seem so pleased for them to come – and many of ‘em sure seem like they’d like to see them go. Precint 11 in Eden Prairie is home to many Somalis, so I went there to see if the TeaBaggers would be up to no good. To no surprise, they were. When I got there, four white guys were hanging out on the corner entrance to the Church hosting the election poll; I saw a KSTP Channel 5 vehicle. The following picture is of Bill Reichert, the Communications Director for the Minnesota Voters Alliance:

They wanted to get a guy wearing a Tea Bagger shirt with their all-seeing eye button to vote whilst wearing his shirt and button; apparently, they were having problems; not sure ’cause they didn’t really want to talk to me. They huddled, and then a crew with a video camera showed up so they went back to the corner to shoot some film. So I went up to the entrance to the poll, and paced off 100 feet. The KSTP vehicle seemed a miht bit close to me…. but, that’s a tangent. What’s important was the hand I shook at the door, a distinguished gentleman exceedingly proud to, as he put it, “vote.” “In Somalia, I didn’t get to vote. Now I do.”

The crew walked on up , this guy was going to go in with his teabaggeer shirt and all-seeing eye button and “exercise HIS right” to vote:

He walked in, the KSTP Reporter followed, and into the poll he went. Not sure if he had to cover up or not; what’s clear is the email that had been sent out to the TeaBagger Faithful, as discussed by The Big E, here:

For now, we are recommending that you proceed with wearing your Election Integrity buttons or Tea Party apparel to the polls, knowing you are within your rights, but don’t allow yourself to be disenfranchised. If you are challenged by an election judge because of what you are wearing, you’ll have a decision to make. You can simply remove or cover the challenged item and you’ll be allowed to vote, or you can refuse and demand your right to vote and the election judge will allow you to vote, while also recording your name and you could be charged with a petty misdemeanor.

Now, the point I’d like to make is that a judge ruled, as I understand it, essentially to “take the stuff off.”

Personally, I think the stuff is intimidation – pure and simple. Be that as it may, I also think the stuff IS electioneering; it seems obvious to me that this whole Tea Bagger “movement” is part and parcel of the GOP.

I’ll follow up tomorrow and see if I can get a comment from Eden Prairie Election Officials and find out what happened in the poll.

What I know is that the guy went in with his Tea bagger shirt and all-seeing eye button; when he came out he still had it on. And I also know that the election judges work hard and have plenty to do already; why these TeaBaggers couldn’t just follow the rules and leave the stuff at home is beyond me.

(cross posted from Mn Progressive Project; comments welcome there)