Letter: Voter ID - more harm than good
Our Minnesota constitution states: "Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct." Voting is a fundamental right for all Minnesota citizens who are eligible voters.
"I don't want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." This statement was made by Paul Weyrich, a founder of the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is financed by wealthy corporations including the billionaire Koch brothers of Texas.
Groups like ALEC are trying to make people without government-sponsored IDs jump through extra hoops in order to vote -- people like the elderly who don't drive, the poor who may be transient, students, the disabled and others.
A study called "Facts about Ineligible Voting and Voter Fraud in Minnesota" that is based on data from 81.6 percent of Minnesota county attorneys following elections in 2008, found there is only one concern and that is felon voting. Of 1,531 reported investigations, 77 percent of them focused on possible felons voting. A picture ID would not indicate a person is a felon.
Voter impersonation is the only type of election fraud that can be detected by a government-sponsored ID. There were seven cases of voter impersonation investigated in Minnesota in 2008 out of 2,921,498 voters.
In summary, voter ID is an expensive amendment, with an estimated cost of $5 million to $40 million, that is being foisted on Minnesotans even though there is no problem. Minnesota has many needs, but this is not one of them. ALEC's corporate sponsors are not concerned about voter fairness in Minnesota. They are concerned with voter suppression.
Mary Lou Werner