Voter ID proposal an attempt to protect cheating

Donald Britt’s lengthy objection to Minnesota’s proposed Voter ID law cries out for a response. It’s mostly standard fare, posing hypothetical cases designed to tug at people’s emotions but having little application to actual voting. He’s also long on outlandish unattributed cost estimates and citations of a highly partisan Secretary of State who seeks out voter fraud vigilantly with his eyes wide shut. This type of see-no-evil camaraderie may hit the feel-good button, but it’s pathetically weak argumentation.

Mr. Britt declares that in 24 years as a “trained election judge” he has never witnessed a single instance of attempted voter fraud. A question: If he isn’t checking ID, how would he know? Is he claiming that he is personally acquainted with every voter who’s passed through his polling places, including nursing home residents, recent transfers from other precincts or even states, kids born at military bases in foreign lands, naturalized citizens, and even indigent homeless people who don’t have a permanent residence anywhere? The claim is preposterous on its face.

Mr. Britt protests that Voter ID is a solution looking for a problem. Minnesota is squeaky clean, he avers. No one here would ever try to, say, vote in his home precinct, then vote again in another precinct on the strength of a voucher from his college buddy. Everyone knows that Minnesotans are unfailingly honest in all matters, particularly voting.

Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about disenfranchised voters and disparate impacts, there is only one reason to oppose voter identification: you expect your side to profit from voter fraud. Every objection to Voter ID, no matter how much feigned outrage accompanies it, is a thinly disguised attempt to protect cheating.

 

Doug Dahl

Princeton

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