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Our Opinion: Voter ID

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Accusations flew from the four corners of the state following the 2010 election. Alleged voter fraud centered around Minnesota prisoners (felons are not eligible to vote while incarcerated) and mentally impaired adults who were allegedly being coached by others as to how to vote. Both situations should be cause enough to implement photo ID for Minnesota voters if true.

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As reported in the Dispatch on March 5, six states enacted a strict photo ID requirement in 2011. Some 31 other states that are considering such a law in this year’s legislative sessions. Minnesota is among the states considering adaptation of a voter identification law, but not in the legislature.

Last year the Minnesota Legislature passed voter ID. However, the bill was sent to Gov. Mark Dayton and he vetoed the bill.

Backers of a measure that would require each resident of Minnesota to verify they are eligible to vote will are pushing for an amendment to the state’s constitution requiring state-issued photo ID.

Voter ID is deeply partisan. Republicans support the common-sense requirement and a means of preventing voter fraud. Democrats view it as an impediment to voting by the poor, minorities, the elderly and disabled residents of the state.

If the amendment succeeds, it would be a matter of practicality to allow Minnesota driver’s licenses, and or any state issued photo identification to serve as an adequate form of verifying a persons’ identity. Provisions should be made for those persons who do not possess a driver’s license, or other forms of state issued identification.

Voter fraud is a serious matter that should be ended.

Alleged fraud in Crow Wing County prompted a federal lawsuit against Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan and Auditor-Treasurer Laureen Borden, representatives of Ramsey County, Minnesota’s Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson. The suit was filed by the Minnesota Voters Alliance President Andy Cilek. Cilek said the state’s voting practices permits ineligible voters to cast their ballots and have them counted.

The right for a citizen resident of Minnesota to vote in federal, state and local elections is one right that each person should be guaranteed, without fraud or intentional deception.

Therefore, passing an amendment to the state’s constitution that requires proof of eligibility is essential in a democratic republic. To not pass such a law infers that voter fraud is an acceptable practice.

—Keith Hansen

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