Come Election Day, get your red sticker and keep in touch

This Election Day, Whistleblower doesn't want your vote. I want to know if something goes wrong while you're voting.

Minnesota doesn't have a recent history of widespread malfunctions of its voting apparatus. But the crush of voters taking part in a historic election could push the system -- and people's patience -- to the limit.

Beginning shortly after the polls open at 7 a.m., I'll start posting dispatches at www.startrib une.com/whistleblower about the scene at the polls. I'll tell people about machine breakdowns, missing ballots, spectacular traffic jams or any other voting foul-up that comes to my attention.

This is where you come in. If something goes wrong at your polling place, I want to know about it. I'll use your tips to write continuous updates that will supplement StarTribune.com's Election Day coverage.

You can reach me all kinds of ways:

• Text me at 612-716-7232

• Call my landline at 612-673-4271

• Send an email to whistleblower@startribune.com

• Post a comment on the blog, www.startribune.com/whistle blower

I may ask for your name and a phone number where I can reach you, to help me confirm the information you provide. Where possible, I'll travel to the polls myself, although state law says members of the news media in polling places have to keep 6 feet from voters. Short of carrying a 6-foot pole with me, I'm not sure how that works in practice, but I will certainly heed the spirit.

Fortunately for us, a federal judge threw out a state law that banned any non-voter from lingering within 100 feet of polling places.

Now you may want to direct your complaint to someone who's actually in authority. Several hotlines have been set up:

Minnesota Secretary of State: 651-215-1440, or toll free, 1-877-600-8683.

U.S. Attorney, District of Minnesota: 612-327-8271.

FBI: 612-376-3200.

U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division: 1-800-253-3931.

Here's hoping that the machinery of democracy runs smoothly in Minnesota.

JAMES ELI SHIFFER

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