From the West Central Tribune crime blotter
Tuesday, police received two reports of protesters outside Vinje Lutheran Church on the 1100 block of Willmar Avenue Southwest. Vinje was a polling place in Tuesday's election.
The first was reported around 5 p.m. A man was standing outside the polling place with an anti-abortion sign. The man had reportedly been asked to leave, but was refusing to.
At 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, police received another report of a protester in the parking lot of the same church. The man was advised of Minnesota statute barring protesters within 100 feet of a polling place
Minnesota election judges take our statutes very seriously, though it's likely many of those voting at the location agreed with the protester. The right of voters to cast their ballots without encountering persuasion or intimidation at their polling location is part of the process.
The man was persistant--and likely there to shame Clinton supporters.
According to the interactive poll finder at the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, Vinje Lutheran Church is the polling place for Willmar Ward 2, Precinct 2. The vote in the precinct heavily favored Republican candidates who opposed reproductive rights (and in the U.S. House, Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House, all DFL and GOP candidates were anti-choice; that left the Presidential race).
With the exception of conservative Blue Dog Republican Collin Peterson, the precinct voted heavily Republican. This was not the case in 2014, when citizens favored DFL candidates with the exception of Dan Severson for Minnesota Secretary of State; in 2012, the voters split their tickets, picking Romney--but Klobuchar for U.S. Senator, Republican candidate Joe Gimse over eventual winner Lyle Koenen for state senate (both were sitting senators at the time) and Sawatzky over sitting state representative Bruce Vogel.
It's a swing district, but both Republican and DFL candidates for the state legislature from Willmar are pro-life.
Photo: File photo of the church, via West Central Tribune.
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