I wish to clarify some inaccurate statements made in letters to the editor regarding the amendment question on the ballot this fall requiring a valid, state-issued photo identification be presented prior to being allowed to vote.
Mr. Bacon does not dispute the number of cases of voter fraud quoted in my letter despite claiming they are ‘seriously in error.’ Instead he simply implies that there would be more except the cases are too hard to prosecute and that the Attorney General and the Secretary of State offices are unwilling to pursue them.
There is no evidence of wide spread or even significant voter fraud in the 2008 election, despite Mr. Bacon’s attempt to imply as such. Minnesota Voters Alliance and Minnesota Majority, both partisan political action groups, did indeed compile a list of names that they accused of being ineligible felons who voted. Yet this was not proven to be the case.
In Ramsey County, for example, the afore mentioned groups submitted 475 names to the county attorneys office. While praising the effort, the attorneys office, after investigating each case, found that 275 of the accusations were completely inaccurate, and that of the remaining, only 28 were prosecutable.
As to the notion Voter ID would prevent felons from voting, it is also false. The fraud routinely discussed has been felons voting before they are eligible; showing an ID (i.e. a drivers license, student ID, etc.) to vote would not prevent this. It does not say whether or not you are felon on your ID. Showing an ID would not prevent non-citizens from voting (ID cards don’t show immigration status). The only type of voting fraud it could prevent is in-person voter impersonation fraud, of which there is no documented evidence
Finally, in addition to the significant difficulties some Minnesotans would have in qualifying for a ‘free’ valid state ID card (obtaining a birth certificate copy, marriage license copy, physically getting to a licensing office; not easy if you’re poor, elderly, or disabled), it is not in fact free. The cost of implementing the system mandated would, in the estimate of the Office of Secretary of State, be $30 to 50 million of taxpayer money to solve a problem that, for all practical purposes, doesn’t exist.
I believe we should never, ever impede our most basic right to be heard as a citizen by putting more requirements in place before we can vote. Giving in to unproven, imagined fears of any kind erodes our freedom and our strength as a state and a nation.