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Letter: Voter ID is common sense

Ronald Reagan said, "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so." As I read some of the letters recently published here, that still seems to be true.

Attacks against the voter ID amendment generally follow two tracks: either that voter ID is a solution without a problem or that asking for ID will disenfranchise some voters. Even though the polls show widespread support for voter ID among reasonable people, this issue seems to break along partisan lines.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue, but rather pure common sense! Voter ID is important for only one reason and that's to help ensure integrity in our elections. As citizens, we all should support a system where all eligible voters can easily vote and also have confidence that our vote will not be cancelled by an illegal vote.

But according to some, cheating doesn't exist or is so rare we need not be bothered by it. Is it reasonable to assume there is no cheating in elections? If cheating didn't exist in general society we would not need IRS agents, the Highway Patrol, game wardens or even officials at athletic events. But people do cheat, especially if there is little risk. So why would we not have reasonable safeguards in our elections to prevent cheating?

Minnesotans will never see or prevent voter fraud if we refuse to put in place basic steps like voter ID. In 2005, a bipartisan commission on Federal Election Reform concluded that "our electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters." The Carter-Baker commission went on to recommend that states adopt a photo-identification system.

Wild claims of disenfranchisement and one letter claiming up to $50 million costs to implement simply don't hold up to scrutiny, but that will have to wait for a follow-up letter. As a recent writer opined, do you own research. Go to for information and make up your own mind.

A note on the Carter-Baker commission was led by former President Jimmy Carter and former secretary of State James Baker III.

- Rollie Nissen, Willmar