Despite no credible evidence voter fraud exists on more than a minuscule scale, Republican majorities in the House and Senate are pushing for a showdown on Voter ID, first with Gov. Mark Dayton this session and then with Minnesota voters in 2012. Dayton should reject this legislation, and Minnesota voters should do the same in 2012.
We’ve opposed such measures since at least 2006, and we continue to do so simply because if applied, they will discourage — yes, even disenfranchise — many more honest Minnesota voters than the dishonest voters they will supposedly catch. (If they even can catch people; after all, look how effective photo IDs are in stopping minors from mayhem or catching illegal immigrants.)
Still, the most compelling fact acknowledged by Republicans in 2006 when they began to trumpet this nonissue remains the same: There is no credible evidence of organized voter fraud in Minnesota. In 2008, news reports show that of the millions votes cast, 38 people were prosecuted for voter fraud. (Most were convicted felons still under sentence.) And that comes after the high-profile, superclose 2006 U.S. Senate race and was followed by the recount-worthy 2010 governor’s race. Yet there is no credible evidence.
Of course, politics being politics, facts aren’t a big concern. That’s why proponents of this effort spin out phrases like “assuring election integrity” and proclaim it’s really about Minnesotans being allowed to vote on this measure.