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Letter: An election with integrity

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It is no surprise that during June Minnesota's election systems have been in the news. The League of Women Voters of Minnesota and the Willmar Area League of Women Voters submit the following statement to affirm the integrity of our system. We take issue with unsubstantiated and irresponsible claims of voter fraud which received headlines recently. The League of Women Voters sees this as an issue where more education is needed. We hope readers can reflect on this statement to talk about election law and our voting systems.

LWVMN statement on election integrity:

League of Women Voters of Minnesota was delighted to hear Joe Friedberg, the lead attorney for Norm Coleman, echo our faith in the honesty of election systems. When asked while before the Minnesota Supreme court on June 1 if there was fraud in our elections, Mr. Friedberg answered with a resounding "absolutely not."

After an intense look at nearly three million ballots and all of the accompanying documentation, the number of questionable ballots was negligible. LWVMN is proud that the recount affirmed our system. We have worked for decades with the Legislature, the public, and current and former governors and secretaries of state to build a body of election law that works and makes Minnesota a recognized national leader in this area.

Given this record, we have consistently opposed efforts to impose additional identification requirements on voters in order to cast a ballot and create additional expenses for both state and county elections officers. The only justification for those costly and cumbersome mandates is to reduce voter fraud -- fraud that we have seen does not exist.

Fortunately, the majority of legislators saw through the voter-fraud canard, passing legislation addressing the absentee-ballot process, a problem that the recount did identify. Unfortunately, Gov. Pawlenty vetoed this bill because it did not contain the identification provisions that the recount has proven unnecessary.

The Coleman-Franken contest proves that Minnesota does not need harsh measures to improve our system. Voter fraud is not an issue. LWVMN hopes that the Legislature in 2010 will again pass legislation simplifying absentee voting and providing for early elections - and we hope the governor will sign the bill.

Mary Lindstrom

President, Willmar Area League of Women Voters

New London

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