The case against the voter ID amendment is remarkably easy to make. Setting aside the legitimate fear that this measure would disenfranchise thousands of Minnesotans, especially the elderly, we’re unconvinced that voter fraud is major concern in Minnesota — and even if it were, the measure that’s being put before voters would do little to fix the problem. More than 100 felons have been convicted of voting illegally in the 2008 election, but a photo ID law wouldn’t have stopped them from voting, because voting status doesn’t appear on a driver’s license.
Furthermore, the devil is in the details — especially when voters are being asked to vote on a proposal that has no details. The photo ID proposal has no implementation language, so we’re being asked to simply trust that our legislators will figure out a fair and affordable way of making sure that no voters are disenfranchised by the photo ID amendment. Frankly, what we’ve seen from St. Paul on this issue gives us little confidence in our legislators.
If our election system needs fixing, then the Legislature should fix it. That’s its job. We suggest the creation of a bipartisan election reform committee to write a complete bill, with a fiscal note on its costs, leaving nothing to hide. Protect the voting rights of the elderly and disabled, as well as our troops serving overseas, and utilize the best technology available, including pollbooks and facial recognition software to prevent fraud. Make sure that rural townships and sparsely populated counties don’t go broke trying to meeting unfunded mandates. If “vouching” is a problem, then nullify that provision in the current election law.
Such legislation might require a year or two to perfect, but what’s the rush? We’re not on the verge of seeing Minnesota’s democracy undermined by people who are willing to risk fines and imprisonment in order to cast an illegal vote.
The Rochester Post-Bulletin NAILS the entire argument against the Voter ID constitutional amendment.