Posted: 01/15/12 08:15, Edited: 01/17/12 16:54
by Dave Mindeman
I suspect that we will be subjected to yet another attack on the Minnesota Constitution next November....an attack on your right to vote.
David Strom, former head of the Taxpayer's League and the MN Free Market Institute, thinks that Voter ID is a no-brainer....
Call me cynical, but I don?t for a moment take seriously the arguments against requiring a photo identification to vote. Nor do I believe that most opponents of photo ID take them seriously either.
OK- you're cynical. You're also way off base. Strom makes his argument in favor of voter ID this way:
Consider the simple fact that it is illegal to get a job in the United States without a government-issued photo ID. Not to mention a Social Security card. In other words, without an ID it is impossible to provide oneself with food, housing, or any of the other necessities of life legally.
What Strom seems to be missing is that the attempt to do something illegal via documentation is not stopped by a photo ID requirement. Anyone who wants to get a job as a non-citizen can get fake documents. Even E-Verify has been found to be flawed. And as we know all too well, getting a fake Social Security number is a cottage industry in this country.
If somebody really wanted to go to all that trouble to vote illegally in an election, photo ID wouldn't be any kind of deterrent.
And in addtion, Mr. Strom apparently dismisses a very relevant point. What is the return on such a fraud? While Voter ID proponents point to the Franken-Coleman election as their prime example, who can predict an election margin of a handful of votes? Who can possibly know that this will be the end result?
To change the outcome of an election via fraudulent votes, there would have to a massive conspiracy to involve thousands of illegal voters....or people voting a multitude of times without detection.
To actually throw an election would require much more planning than we have ever seen in election fraud. Quite frankly, it would be much easier to tamper with computer data and switch numbers around electronically than have people fraudulently vote at the polls. Number tampering would be much easier and more of a certainty in getting the outcome you want.
And exactly how would a Voter ID requirement stop a hacker?
Voter ID is not going to stop serious voter fraud, but it absolutely can be a problem for legal, legitimate voters.
We already know of the difficulties this can produce for students, the elderly, the sick, and the poor. Anecdotal evidence in other states that have voter ID laws have shown elderly voters who have voted since the 1940s, 50's, or 60's are suddenly blocked from one of their most basic rights.
This undo burden for a simple democratic act must never disgrace our Minnesota Constitution. We may think that we are acting in good faith to protect the integrity of the vote, but we would be wrong. It has little value in stopping any real fraud but it has a much greater capability of suppressing legitimate votes.
Mr. Strom makes a big deal about making purchases with ID or needing ID to make a legal transaction. But those acts give us something in return. They have a personal pupose....we get something.
We don't get much reward for voting. Maybe a little red sticker that we slap on our lapel. Or a sense of satisfaction in doing our public duty.
But if we establish obstacles that can make it more difficult to vote, we reduce the liklihood that people on the margins will even bother. Mr. Strom may consider himself cynical but it pales in the realization of how cynical the American voter has generally become.
That is why voting the privilege, must not become voting the bother. Minnesota is a leader in making the right to vote the simplest of tasks.
We want everyone, everywhere to exercise that right.
Voter ID is not a necessary requirement and most certainly is not something that should muddy up the Constitutional document that guarantees that right.