Letter to the Editor: What's wrong with preventing voter fraud?
There has been an astonishing amount of misinformation being spread by opponents of the Minnesota Voter ID amendment, mostly the false statements are nothing more than talking points developed by national organizations who do not even understand Minnesota's voting laws. Also misunderstood is what the constitutional amendment is designated to do - protect each and every vote and ensure it's both easy to vote and hard to cheat. Being fair-minded folks, what is wrong with preventing cheating?
One of the common talking points of the amendment's detractors is the concern that the proposed Voter ID constitutional amendment will include large costs and eliminate absentee and mail-in balloting. This couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, the proposed amendment language specifically differentiates between those voting in-person and those not voting in-person to preserve and protect both processes. Not only would absentee balloting not be eliminated, but it would be protected by our constitution by stating that Minnesotans can vote in ways other than in-person.
As for the high costs, many of the estimates originally came from the budget office when discussion was ongoing about a statutory bill that was vetoed and is thus irrelevant. Electronic poll books are often cited as a significant expense, but both opponents and supporters of the Voter ID amendment generally support poll books. They're coming to Minnesota with or without the Voter ID amendment. The fact is that the amendment says nothing at all about "E-Poll books" and this is not a requirement if the amendment passes. The only required costs are giving identification to eligible voters at no cost, voter education and printing a small number of "second chance" provisional ballots.
Even if the amendment fails, poll books are likely to come up next session. For this efficient modernization of our voter rolls, it's probably not a matter of if, but when.
The other ludicrous talking point of the opponents of protecting your vote, is that there is no voter fraud. The fact is that Minnesota now leads the nation in convictions of voter fraud, with 200 recent convictions of ineligible voters, according to the state court administrator. Minnesota's a leader in a lot of ways, but this is not a very noble distinction for our state. There are still pending cases in Minnesota and over 6,000 election day registrants provided names or addresses that could not be verified after they were accepted and counted in the 2008 election in Minnesota (from documents available at wewantvoterid.com).
No voter fraud? The proof is in the numbers!
I would encourage everyone to read the actual amendment language; it does what it says it does and it's not complicated. It would eliminate Minnesota's problem of having high numbers of unverifiable and ineligible voters casting ballots.
Simply put, Voter ID would make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. That just makes sense. If you believe we deserve confidence in the outcome of our elections, please join me in voting 'yes.'