A funny thing happened recently to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on its way to nailing an alleged illegal voter. Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigative arm found that clerical mistakes are sometimes made and that people can be accused of trying to vote illegally when they actually didn’t.
The investigators, with the aid of Hennepin County elections officials, learned that clerks at the state Department of Vehicle Services can wrongly check off boxes and that workers at voting locations can incorrectly mark a voter roster.
We mention this as the “Voter ID” movement pushes ahead again Tuesday with its bill, sponsored by Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, in the Senate Finance Committee. It’s the companion of House File 210, backed by former Secretary of State and current Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake.
It’s a bill that assumes that people regularly attempt to impersonate others on Election Day and that convicted felons can be halted from voting with the use of some newfangled Voter ID card. Wrong assumptions, indeed.
The Voter ID effort in Minnesota is, as Gov. Mark Dayton has said, “largely a solution in search of a problem.” After sitting through testimony at an earlier hearing, I think it’s obvious any Voter ID rule would mostly help to disenfranchise a variety of subsets of voters, such as senior citizens, citizens with disabilities and students. It’s even possible these groups lean towards voting Democratic, but that’s not the issue. Is it?