Posted: 07/10/14 12:38
by Dave Mindeman
The Kahn/Noor primary contest has been stirring up some debate about voting and photo ID. But as often happens with these things, the political rhetoric doesn't match the problem.
This all centers around a Post Office box service at 419 Cedar Ave S...which is used by a number of Somali's who move often or don't really have a permanent address.
But instead of some broad "conspiracy" to get more voting access, it boils down to this....
Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms said when someone changes his or her address through the postal service, an obscure state law requires the county auditor to update the person's address in the voter records.
This isn't something sinister. It is just a quirk in our voting regulations meant to offer convenience for the voter. Since your voting registration is supposed to be updated when you change addresses, this automatic notification is meant to save you the step of contacting someone about your voting address change. It also helps the state keep up to date information for registration.
In the Cedar Ave situation, this aroused suspicion because of how the Post Office box service is used. Again, nothing sinister or conspiratorial - just a matter of how things work in the Somali community.
This is getting straightened out with notifications and the address in question will require follow up when it appears. Done.
Except for one thing. The Republicans seem to think that this is another of their "myriad of reasons" for a Photo ID law. GOP candidate for Secretary of State Dan Severson had to sound the "alarm"....
"The Democrats are really giving this to us on a silver platter," Republican Dan Severson told a group of Republicans at the opening of a party campaign office in Eagan. Severson, who is making a second run for secretary of state, is a strong backer of requiring people to show a photo ID before they can vote. He says Kahn's complaint proves the photo ID requirement is needed.
And why would that be?....
"When she turns around and requires a photo ID to have people endorse her, you have to say, 'what's up, how come all of a sudden?' And then when the early voting starts and she's complaining that there are 130 people that are voting from one particular address and she doesn't think that's right, she's starting to sound like a Republican," Severson said.
It apparently seems obvious to Severson but in actuality none of this applies to his premise.
Photo ID would be of little benefit to this situation - in fact, it would confuse things all the more. Obviously, your driver's license would be the Photo ID in use, but for a person that changes addresses frequently, how would a driver's license be of any value? Yes, your picture would be on it but what are the odds that the address would be correct? The voter registration list would be much more up to date than the license because of the rule discussed above.
Severson doesn't offer any details or explanations - because, I would guess, he doesn't know. He does what every Republican does - if you talk about voting, the solution is always Photo ID.
Which for this particular Cedar Ave situation, it is not a solution at all.