Protect election integrity
Who doesn't want election integrity? That's why 80 percent of Minnesotans believe that a photo ID amendment should be added to our state's constitution, but will that guarantee integrity of an election?
First we must distinguish between election fraud and voter fraud. Election fraud is the one to fear. It is most likely to occur in states with machines that don't have a paper record. The machines have been hacked within minutes and there is no trail or recount.
Photo ID won't cure this. Photo ID is meant to protect against individual voter fraud. Indiana was the first with photo ID in 2005. Let's look at the results.
In the May 2008 primary election, 10 retired nuns arrived to cast their votes. A poll worker, a nun who knew the retired nuns, had to turn them away since they didn't have an acceptable ID. One did have an expired passport but the law requires current licenses and passports. Yes, they could have cast provisional ballots but this would require an additional trip within 10 days and these women -- all in their 80s and 90s using walkers and wheelchairs -- believed it too much of a burden on others.
Students at state schools could use their student ID but some private schools like Notre Dame and Butler were turned away because those student IDs were not state-issued.
On the other hand, we have the case of Secretary of State Charley White. He had the photo ID required by the state of Indiana. White -- the man in charge of the state's elections -- has just been convicted of three charges of voter fraud, two cases of perjury and one case of theft. The six counts are all felonies with sentences from six months to three years each. He has been relieved of his job as state of secretary but Gov. Mitch Daniels is waiting to see if the judge will reduce the felonies to misdemeanors and then White could resume his job of ensuring the integrity of elections.
Let's protect our elections' integrity by punishing the guilty while enabling the innocent to vote.
Barbara M. Edwards