Posted: 02/14/12 13:40
by Dave Mindeman
Since it is likely that Minnesota Majority will jump on this Pew Research Poll, I thought I'd address it prior to the hubub. Here's the crux of the matter...
Some 24 million voter registrations in the United States contain significant errors, including about 1.8 million dead people still on the rolls and many more approved to vote in multiple states, according to a report released Tuesday.
Does this indicate some kind of fraud conspiracy? Absolutely not. How many times have you changed addresses? Did you cancel your old voter registration? Probably not. When you moved out of state, did you tell the Secretary of State to cancel your registration? Again, probably not. Most of these "errors" in registration are simple things like that.
And having deceased people on the rolls is also not unusual. It costs taxpayer money to cross reference all the lists that would cancel out registrations for death or moving....money that is tight and needed for a lot of other priorities.
Could people find a way to manage multiple votes? Possibly. But the relevant question would be -- to what purpose?
You could call a friend that you knew when you lived at an old address and tell him or her to use that old registration to vote again. Is it worth the time? the risk of being discovered? or would it even make a difference? The answer to all of that is no.
As I have mentioned before, if you look hard enough you can probably find several ways for people to commit voter fraud if they really wanted to. But what is the reward? In order to really make a difference in numbers you would need a vast voter fraud conspiracy, so big that in all liklihood, it would be quickly discovered.
If you weigh the risks of significant numbers of legitimate voters being denied their right to vote because of a Voter ID law compared to the very remote possiblity of significant voter fraud, it is no contest. The right to vote should always get precedence.
And another thing.....
Would a voter ID requirement really end registration errors or even the few cases of voter fraud that do exist --namely felons voting? Probably not. IDs can be forged. And Constitutionally, you have to provide a provisional ballot if a person wants to vote but doesn't have the mandated ID. This will add to the cost of elections because provisional ballots will have to be examined and cross referenced to determine their validity.
Don't we have actual and real problems to deal with that are more pressing than to chase the ghosts of voter fraud?
And the idea of muddying up the State Constitution with such a vague mandate is not worth legislative time. In fact, a Constitutional amendment could do harm to many of Minnesota's most vulnerable citizens and deny them their voting voice.
I don't care if 80% of Minnesota citizens would favor such an amendment -- it is not that 80% that needs protecting. Rights are there to protect the minority and that is the case here.