Thoughts on Voter ID amendment
On the Voter ID Amendment, consider the Norm Coleman – Al Franken race.
A conservative group called Minnesota Majority looked into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons—all ineligible to vote—who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race. The election was decided by 312 votes.
Minnesota Majority took the information to prosecutors across the state, many of whom showed no interest in pursuing it. But Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads. And so far 177 people have been convicted — not just accused, but convicted — of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. Note that to get a conviction of voter fraud, you have to prove intent, not just a mistake.
The election was particularly important because Franken’s victory gave Senate Democrats a 60th vote in favor of President Obama’s national health care proposal — the deciding vote to overcome a Republican filibuster. If Coleman had kept his seat, there would have been no 60th vote, and no Obamacare.
When voters are disenfranchised by the counting of improperly cast ballots or outright fraud, their civil rights are violated just as surely as if they were prevented from voting, The integrity of the ballot box is just as important to the credibility of elections as access to it.
I believe I am among the majority of Minnesota voters that won’t mind providing ID to vote, just as we must provide ID to cash a check or buy certain things, if it will prevent such abuse as this. Even if the legislature were to pass voter ID, our crazy court system would probably find it unconstitutional.
If we can get it in the Minnesota Constitution, it doesn’t make any difference what they would do.