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Let's fix problems that DO exist

September 6, 2012
Marshall Independent

pponents of the proposed voter ID amendment - a mean-spirited amendment as it has been dubbed by some - that will be on the ballot this November have plenty of ammunition.

There's a list of negatives surrounding the issue - a fact that won't go away no matter how it's worded on the ballot.

Same-day voter registration will likely take a hit. If fewer people vote because of new ID requirements - and disenfranchisement is a given - it gives more power to special interest groups. And there's sure to be some added costs in the future if the November vote passes - and that cost could fall on the voters' shoulders.

But above all, even if you can dispute the aforementioned facts, the bottom line is this is a solution without a problem. This is not to say voter fraud doesn't exist, because it does, but in Minnesota it's anything but an epidemic. It doesn't rate anywhere on the mountain-molehill scale.

Show us proof that voter fraud is rampant enough to change the way we vote and we can have a different discussion.

While fraud by impersonation could be prevented with more strict requirements, a national survey found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation in the U.S. since 2000 - one for every 15 million voters. The analysis shows 491 cases of alleged absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases involving registration fraud. Requiring voters to show identification at the polls would not have prevented those cases.

If that's accurate, the obvious question is, once again, is: Why are we even bothering with this?

Everyone strives for open, fair and honest elections; we already have them in Minnesota.

Perhaps if the strings were loosened a bit, we might take a different view. Maybe, just maybe, if prospective voters would be allowed to use alternative IDs (military or student IDs, for example) we would be more receptive to the amendment. But that's not going to happen.

Republicans and Democrats don't agree with each other too often, but on this issue, it has been widely reported that Minnesota representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle are against this amendment. Independents, too. And if people from different parties can agree something is wrong, it's safe to say it probably is.

Of course, there are some bad apples out there.

Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, said earlier this year: "If you look for voter fraud in Minnesota you'll find it It's frustrating to me that it seems like Minnesota Majority are the only ones looking for it."

Back in March, McGrath presented certified court documents from Anoka County that showed the prosecution of an Andover woman who admitted to voting twice in 2008 - once for her and once for her daughter. She was busted and ordered to pay $200 in court costs.

That's one case. One. And the rule-breaker was caught.

One flame does not make a forest fire. So let's put the hoses away.



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