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Cases of voter-ID election fraud found 'virtually non-existent'

In Minnesota, there have been 10 total cases of reported fraud
REUTERS/Darren Hauck
In Minnesota, there have been 10 total cases of reported fraud and no cases of voter impersonation reported since 2000.

Editor’s note: This report is part of a project on voting rights in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program.

A News21 analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, News21 reporters sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity, including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

In Minnesota, there have been 10 total cases of reported fraud and no cases of voter impersonation reported since 2000.

“Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,” said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul.

David Schultz
Courtesy of Hamline University
David Schultz

“There is absolutely no evidence that [voter impersonation fraud] has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States,” Schultz said.

What we found

The News21 analysis of its election fraud database shows:

  • In-person voter-impersonation fraud is rare. The database shows 207 cases of other types of fraud for every case of voter impersonation.

 “The fraud that matters is the fraud that is organized. That's why voter impersonation is practically non-existent because it is difficult to do and it is difficult to pull people into conspiracies to do it,” said Lorraine Minnite, professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University.

  • There is more fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than any other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases of registration fraud. A required photo ID at the polls would not have prevented these cases.

 “The one issue I think is potentially important, though more or less ignored, is the overuse of absentee balloting, which provides far more opportunity for fraud and intimidation than on-site voter fraud,” said Daniel Lowenstein, a UCLA School of Law professor.

  • Of reported election-fraud allegations in which a resolution could be determined, 46 percent resulted in acquittals, dropped charges or decisions not to bring charges.

Minnite says prosecutions are rare. “You have to be able to show that people knew what they were doing and they knew it was wrong and they did it anyway,” she said. “It may be in the end they [prosecutors] can't really show that the people who have cast technically illegal ballots did it on purpose.”

  • Felons or noncitizens sometimes register to vote or cast votes because they are confused about their eligibility. The database shows 74 cases of felons voting and 56 cases of noncitizens voting.
  • Voters make a lot of mistakes, from accidentally voting twice to voting in the wrong precinct.
  • Election officials make a lot mistakes, from clerical errors — giving voters ballots when they’ve already voted — to election workers confused about voters’ eligibility requirements.

“I don't think there is a mature democracy that has as bad of an elections system as we do,” said Richard Hasen, a professor of political science and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. “We have thousands of electoral jurisdictions, we have non-professionals running our elections, we have partisans running our elections, we have lack of uniformity.”

Voter-impersonation fraud has attracted intense attention in recent years as conservatives and Republicans argue that strict voter ID laws are needed to prevent widespread fraud.

Little voter fraud

The case has been made repeatedly by the Republican National Lawyers Association, one of whose missions is to advance “open, fair and honest elections.” It has compiled a list of 375 election fraud cases, based mostly on news reports of alleged fraud.

News21 examined the RNLA cases in the database and found only 77 were alleged fraud by voters. Of those, News21 could verify convictions or guilty pleas in only 33 cases. The database shows no RNLA cases of voter-impersonation fraud.

Civil-rights and voting-rights activists condemn the ID laws as a way of disenfranchising minorities, students, senior citizens and the disabled.

Rep. Turzai’s comments at issue

In a video that went viral in June, Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House majority leader, spoke approvingly at a Republican State Committee meeting of the state’s new voter ID law, "which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done."

His spokesman said Turzai meant that Pennsylvania’s election would be fair and free of fraud because of the new ID law. Democrats, however, said Turzai meant the law, signed in March, would suppress Democratic votes.

According to Pennsylvania’s Department of State and the Department of Transportation, as many as 758,000 people, about 9 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters currently don’t have the identification that now will be required at the polling place.

 Even if 90 percent of those voters got the correct identification by Nov. 6, that still could leave 75,800 voters disenfranchised. 

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the ID law violates the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act by discriminating against minorities, according to a July 23 letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele.

A coalition of civil-rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union has sued Pennsylvania in state court, arguing the voter ID law would deprive citizens of their right to vote. The trial began July 25. 

In a pretrial document released by the ACLU, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, represented by the state Attorney General’s Office, could not identify any cases of voter impersonation at the polls.

The state said it would offer no evidence that “in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania or elsewhere” or that “in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of a photo ID law.”

Pennsylvania officials, who responded to the News21 public record requests, also reported no cases of Election Day voter-impersonation fraud since 2000.

“This law is a solution solving a problem that does not exist,” Democratic state Sen. Vincent Hughes told an Aug. 1 teleconference hosted by New America Media, a group representing the ethnic media. Hughes called the law partisan and, echoing Turzai, said its purpose is “to elect Mitt Romney.”

The News21 database shows one of the rare instances of voter-impersonation fraud occurred in Londonderry, N. H., in 2004 when 17-year-old Mark Lacasse used his father’s name to vote for George W. Bush in the Republican presidential primary. The case was dismissed after Lacasse performed community service.

The database shows the nine other voter impersonation cases were in Alabama, California, Colorado, Kansas and Texas.All were isolated and showed no coordinated efforts to change election results.

Nine states pass voter ID since 2010

Republican-dominated legislatures — with the exception of Rhode Island where Democrats passed a photo ID law — have considered 62 ID bills since 2010.

Nine states — South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama— passed strict voter ID laws.

Only the Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kansas measures are likely to be in effect in November. The Pennsylvania law has been challenged in state court.

Rhode Island’s more lenient law will take effect in 2014. Indiana and Georgia were the first states to pass strict voter-ID laws, enacted in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

(Minnesota voters in November will decide on a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voter ID, although there is a pending court challenge to the measure.)

Few laws regulate absentee ballots, although the News21 analysis shows this is one of the most frequent instances of fraud.

“It makes much more sense if you are trying to steal an election by either manipulating results on the back end through election official misconduct or to use absentee ballots, which are easier to control and to maintain,” said Hasen, the UC, Irvine, professor of political science.

The News21 analysis shows 185 election fraud cases linked to campaign officials or politicians involving absentee or mail-in ballots.

In 2003, the Indiana Supreme Court invalidated East Chicago Democratic Mayor Rob Pastrick’s primary victory because of massive fraud. Pastrick, an eight-term incumbent, lost in a 2004 repeat election.

Forty-six people, mainly city workers, were found guilty in a wide-ranging conspiracy to purchase votes through the use of absentee ballots.

Absentee ballots seen as bigger problem

John Fortier, a political scientist at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank, said there are “more direct problems” with absentee ballots because the person casting the ballot can be pressured or coerced.

Keesha Gaskins — senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, a public policy group that opposed many of the voting-law changes nationally — recognizes that absentee-ballot fraud occurs more than other election fraud but still doesn’t consider it a threat.

“There are more concerns in terms of absentee fraud but, again, it is easier to catch,” she said.

Minnite, the Rutgers University professor who researched election fraud from 2006 to 2010 for her book, “The Myth of Voter Fraud,” agrees with Gaskins.

"Corruption works when it’s organized. If we see more cases of absentee-ballot fraud than, say, voter-impersonation fraud, it still doesn't mean that voters individually are motivated to do it,” she explains. “It just means that absentee balloting might present some greater opportunities for people who are organizing conspiracies to corrupt elections."

The News21 analysis shows 34 states had at least one case of registration fraud — many were associated with third-party voter registration groups.

The most noteworthy involved the voter registration group, Association for Community Organization and Reform Now (ACORN).

The group, which endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, became the target of conservative activist James O’Keefe, who produced deceptively edited videos that suggested ACORN employees were encouraging criminal behavior.

Voter-ID supporters often cite ACORN as evidence that voter fraud is a problem. The scandal resulted in at least 22 convictions in seven states and the collapse of the organization in 2010 after Congress and private donors pulled their funding.

This type of fraud is a concern because third-party voter-registration groups generally pay for each signature. Critics argue that is an incentive to write in false names and break the law.

Both sides of the debate agree voter-registration rolls are outdated and should be cleaned up. They disagree on whether problems with the rolls lead to fraudulent votes being cast.

‘Mickey Mouse’ not voting

“Mickey Mouse has been registered hundreds of times, but Mickey has never turned up on Election Day to vote,” Hasen said. The News21 database shows 393 cases involving ineligible voters, typically felons, noncitizens or people voting in the wrong jurisdictions. There were guilty verdicts in 159 cases.

Sometimes, felons and non-citizens were not aware that they didn’t have voting rights, as in the case of Derek Little in Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The database shows the case was dismissed because prosecutors learned that Little identified himself at the polls with his prison ID.

Double voting occurs in isolated instances and often involves absentee ballots. However, few cases in the database reveal any coordinated effort to change election results. Often, the double vote was a mistake.

Claudel Gilbert, who had changed his address in Ohio in 2007, received two registration cards in the mail and believed he had to vote in both places for his vote to count. In four other cases, people were accused of double voting for filling out their ballot and their spouse’s.

Some advocates of voter-ID laws say voter fraud is used to “steal” federal elections.

But the only so-called theft case in the News21 database involved four Indiana Democratic Party officials accused in 2008 of forging signatures on petitions to get Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the state primary ballot. No one was convicted.

Many experts agree the elections system is inefficient and that this leads to mistakes and clerical errors that are lumped under “voter fraud.”

The News21 database showed that election-fraud cases often were the result of mistakes by confused voters or elections officials.

For example, Leland Duane Lewis, an 89-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., in 2011, requested — and got — a second ballot after mistakenly turning in his first one and realizing it was only half-completed.

Tom Brett, an election worker from Georgia, was accused in 2009 of not being on duty during early and absentee voting.

Schultz, the Hamline University professor who has written extensively about election fraud, said voting rules could be clarified for voters and there should be better training for election officials.

“If somebody is ineligible to vote because they are a felon, for example, or an ex-felon, making that clear to them, in terms of they can't vote until such and such a time,” Schultz said. “And the same thing with election officials ... making it clear to them regarding what the rules are regarding who is eligible and who is not eligible.”

Election ‘integrity’ debated

Many voter-ID supporters continue to argue that the measures are needed to prevent voter-impersonation fraud to ensure the integrity of elections, although fewer than five-tenths of 1 percent of the total cases in the News21 analysis are voter impersonation.

Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based policy center, is a staunch supporter of voter-ID laws. He said “there’s no way to detect” voter-impersonation fraud unless states have voter-ID laws.

Bill Denny, a Mississippi Republican state representative elected in 1987, sponsored that state’s voter-ID bill — awaiting preclearance by the Justice Department — because he thinks voter impersonation is a problem even if there have been few prosecutions.

“Whether you have proof of it or not,” he added, “what in the heavens is wrong with showing an ID at polls?”

Minnite, the Rutgers professor, is worried that lawmakers could disenfranchise voters who don’t obtain the correct IDs and are prohibited from voting in November based on a problem that barely exists. 

“Voter fraud is not a problem [so] the solution should not be to address voter fraud,” Minnite said.

She said it could be especially burdensome for poor people to obtain the correct documents to get an ID — even for a free ID that some states with new ID laws are providing.

Minnite asked whether voting rights for "thousands of people should be sacrificed ... where there is absolutely no basis for (voter ID) in the first place.”

Civil-rights groups compare the voter-ID laws to Jim Crow laws, poll taxes and literacy tests designed to keep blacks from voting in the past.

“It's simply a new big burden on the backs of people who just want to have their voices heard during elections,” said Eddie Hailes, managing director and general counsel of the Advancement Project, a civil-rights group challenging voter-ID laws in Texas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The Justice Department denied the Texas voter-ID law — which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder likened to a poll tax— on the grounds that it would disproportionately affect minorities and the poor.

The state pre-emptively sued the Justice Department for the right to implement the law and arguments were heard by a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., in July. A verdict is expected within the next month.

Not all supporters of the laws think voter-impersonation fraud is a major problem. Not all opponents think the laws will suppress millions of votes.

Trey Grayson, the former Republican Kentucky secretary of state who is director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, supports voter ID but also thinks election reform should “make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

He suggests voter-identification laws could be paired with Election Day registration.

“People who don’t get registered 30 days out could still come in and register on the day of the election,” he said. “And a voter ID, that could give you the confidence that this person really is who she says she is and allow her to vote.”

Grayson criticizes many opponents of voter-identification laws, suggesting that their focus on voter suppression may have an adverse effect on turnout.

"One of the criticisms I would have of the attorney general [Eric Holder] and others who have made this a big deal,” he said, “is, by raising the issue and the way they are raising it, rather than trying to go around and get people IDs, sort of raising the specter of all this, they may also be suppressing the vote with their reaction to it." 

Grayson said there is potential to have comprehensive election reform without partisan politics.

“You could take ideas from the left and the right,” he said. “You could have a better system.”

Alex Remington of News21 contributed to this article.

Natasha Khan was an Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow this summer at News21

About this project: “Who Can Vote?” was produced by News21, a national investigative reporting project involving college journalism students across the country and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. News21 is funded by the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

 For the complete Voting Rights in America project, visit here.

Clarification

Critics of third-party voter-registration say that workers who gather signatures are typically paid for their efforts and that’s an incentive to write in false names, breaking the law. Defenders of third-party registration say that establishing criteria for the number of signatures workers must gather in a day, for example, is good business practice. These so-called quotas, they say, are simply a way of establishing standards of performance and evaluating employees.
The clarification grew out of a discussion with third-party signature-gathering groups who make the point that workers are often paid by the day or by the hour and that paying per signature is, in fact, outlawed in several states.

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Comments (86)

Numbers worth spending millions of dollars on

According to republicans the fraud mentioned in the article are numbers worth spending millions of dollars on. It is all part of the republican's fear campaign because they feel their sky is falling. The republicans have come up with a terrific solution; all they need now is a problem. Recently we have had two recount elections, which were monitored by a bipartisan team looking for fraud, and both sides said there wasn't any fraud. But because the republicans fear campaign has planted the fear seed they want to set up a "FREE" Voter ID System. "Free" to fiscal conservatives means they don't have to spend their own money to accomplish one of their social engineering goals. If instituted, a Voter ID System will cost millions for setup, operation, and lawyer fees all to solve a non-existent problem. Disenfranchisement is their only goal. They can't win elections based on their ideas so the next best thing is to eliminate the voters that aren't likely to vote for them. Voters, the republicans are morally bankrupt. The choice is yours in November.

Voter ID is and always has been a dog whistle

it means, if you listen carefully, "people who aren't exactly like YOU might be voting. Isn't that terrible?"

Fallacious premise

Just because something is not being prosecuted does not mean it is not occurring. For example, according to a Jan. 6, 2012 report from the liberal CBS News, people and businesses in the U.S. have underpaid or avoided a massive $450 billion in taxes owed. Our government prosecutes a minuscule 15 cases per million people. Under the News21 premise that indicates there is barely any tax evasion in the United States, which is something we all know to be laughably untrue. With a stronger voter ID law in Minnesota, comic Al Franken would not be a U.S. Senator. That should be reason enough for Minnesota voters to approve the upcoming amendment.

Tax Evasion? This is a false equivalency...

...plain and simple.

With a "stronger ID law" voters will have a harder time voting. That's simply un-American. The GOP is pushing tactics to make it harder for people who MIGHT vote Democratic - at a time when the changing demographics of the US mean the number of people who might vote GOP will very likely dwindle. Its fraudulent to think there's any other reason why these laws are popping up - in fact, the article makes the reasons why the GOP is pushing this very clear.

Your remark about the Senate

Election is completely fallacious and stated with absolutely no proof. LOL

your proof?

Even the Coleman camp conceded that there was no vote fraud in that election, let alone anything that would have been prevented by IDs.

Not accurate

The Coleman camp conceded that no fraud occurred during the recount. And why would it? All the chips were in an order to the Democrats liking.

Franken

"With a stronger voter ID law in Minnesota, comic Al Franken would not be a U.S. Senator."

Do you have ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL to support this claim? Are you implying that there was voter fraud, which is a felony? If so, that is a very serious accusation. Or are you simply saying the certain people would not have been allowed to vote? Which is it?

As for Franken being a comic, well, the man he replaced was a clown. Only difference is that Coleman never made me laugh.

"With a stronger voter ID law

"With a stronger voter ID law in Minnesota, comic Al Franken would not be a U.S. Senator. " Right wingers keep saying that with no evidence whatsoever. During the recount Coleman's team said there was NO evidence of fraud. Honestly the only thing fraudulent in regards to that recount are statements like "With a stronger voter ID law in Minnesota, comic Al Franken would not be a U.S. Senator. "

So you want the law because

So you want the law because it will prevent Democrats from casting ballots. An honest answer.

Except

Even a conservative media outlet would recognize the differences between prosecuting in-person voter fraud and tax evasion/underpayment. Underpayment or evasion of taxes is not always a criminal matter. It is often more effective to pursue non-criminal, civil enforcement measures. Those civil measures are not available for voter fraud. Besides, any prosecutor who ignored the matter would hear conservative bloviators and their acolytes braying like a flock of mules over the issue (or has that crowd finally grown tired of the New Black Panther Party issue?).

Incidentally, your last sentence is telling. You only care about the "voter fraud" canard because people you don't like get elected. Is it truly impossible for you to believe that the voters may have disagreed with you, albeit by a very slim majority?

First part good idea, second part I need proof

It would be a far more worthwhile thing to do, going after tax cheats. If we do that we might entrap some politicians. When vetted it seems they always seems to have forgotten to pay their taxes. We might even make some money pursuing tax cheats vs. spending money where the republican solution needs a problem first. I'm not sure what proof you have that Senator Franken did something that we need to set up a voter ID system for. If you hate him that much, just don't vote for him, that is how the system works.

Thanks for citing Franken's

Thanks for citing Franken's election victory. It's a great example of how voter fraud is a non-issue in Minnesota. Given the time, money (other people's money, as it turns out) and effort the Republican party expended trying to overturn the election results, you'd think that any examples of voter misidentification (the only kind of voter fraud that could even remotely be impacted by the voter ID amendment) would have been quickly uncovered and thoroughly reported. And how many were there? Between none and zero, if I recall correctly. Could it be that your voter ID views are informed more by your disappointment in Franken's victory than by a zeal for sound election process?

A lot of innuendo and no proof

These comments are unsupported by anything but fear, fear of democrats and fear of democracy.

All you gotta do here is read man

The study covers REPORTED cases of fraud AND prosecuted cases. Voter ID proponents want us to believe that all kinds of unreported fraud is taking place just because they say so. They also demand we perform the logical impossible task of proving a negative, i.e. that something (voter fraud) does not exist. I can't prove that there is no such thing a spaghetti monster- that doesn't mean that spaghetti monsters probably exist and we should spend billions devising a way to protect ourselves from them. 0 that's the number of in-person attempts of voter identity fraud- 0.We're going to completely change the way we do elections, eliminate election day registration, put tens of thousands of votes into a brand new "provisional" ballot box, and eliminate vouching, all to prevent 0 cases of in person voter fraud.

Has Anyone Thought of This?

“And a voter ID, that could give you the confidence that this person really is who she says she is and allow her to vote.”

Good thing no one can make a fake I.D. . . Oh, wait . . .

Excuse me

But how do they expect to find any cases of voter impersonation when people are not required to identify themselves?

Oh I get it, we need to amend

Oh I get it, we need to amend the Constitution so we can require voter ID so we can determine if there's any need for voter ID. Thanks for the clarification.

By your logic

We don't need ID for any transaction in this society unless it's been proven that sufficient numbers of people have defrauded the system without it. Good luck with that.

Failing, logic-wise

The oft-cited transactions that require ID are voluntary, private affairs. Do I need to show ID to write a check? Probably. Is the merchant required by law to ask for my ID? No, he or she is free to trust my disarmingly honest countenance and take any paper I proffer.

Am I legally required to show ID to buy alcohol? Yes. Do I have an absolute right as a citizen to buy alcohol? No--under the 21st Amendment, the state is allowed to put restrictions on the sale of alcohol, or to prohibit its sale altogether.

Incidentally, shouldn't the folks who believe in "limited government" require strong showing of a need to restrict the exercise of rights by the people?

Voting is not a right

It is restricted to legal citizens who are who they say they are.

Wrong again. Thanks for playing.

Voting is a right. It is a right limited to all citizens (what is an "illegal citizen," anyway?). Sometime, you might try to read the Constiutution conservatives claim to hold in such esteem.

And since there is absolutely

And since there is absolutely zero evidence of voter fraud ever having occurred I guess we should probably take the right to vote away from thousands of others huh?

The Minnesota Constitution says voting is a right

"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. The place of voting by one otherwise qualified who has changed his residence within 30 days preceding the election shall be prescribed by law. The following persons shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state: A person not meeting the above requirements; a person who has been convicted of treason or felony, unless restored to civil rights; a person under guardianship, or a person who is insane or not mentally competent."

"Shall be entitled" means it is NOT a privilege, but a constitutionally protected right.

Proof of eligibility is already required to register. Why should it be required again at the polling place for every election?

Oh, I don't know...

Maybe an impersonator would occasionally goof and choose for impersonation someone who the election judge knew, or who actually voted (whether earlier or later), or who was later discovered by the county auditor to have died prior to election day? Not all of those would lead to catching the perpetrator. But any of them would serve as a sign that impersonation was occurring. None of these signs is turning up.

voter and tax fraud

I think your agenda is as clear as the PA governor who said voting ID laws would make Romney president. He didn't misspeak.
If you have knowledge of voter fraud, it is incumbent on you to bring the facts and evidence to attention. Do you have better and more accurate figures than News 21? If so, you should produce them. Do you think there was somehow fraud in the recounts that made Al Franken our senator (where he is a sober, informed, and trusted representative for our state), then you should take it up with the MN Supreme Court and all the observers on both sides who made sure the counts were accurate.
If you know of tax evasion in MN you should let all of us in on it, including the treasury--if you have facts and evidence. Saying that the number of people who don't pay taxes somehow indicates there is voter fraud, is "laughable." They are not linked in any way.

The Impossible Dream

“And a voter ID, that could give you the confidence that this person really is who she says she is and allow her to vote.”

Not quite. Apparently the "Conservatives", and Republicans have not used any critical thinking skills in this whole exercise. As is the case with the so-called "National ID" that Our Federal Government would like to impose on us, at no cost to them, but great cost to the states and our civil liberties, there are only certain documents that can be used to obtain an "officlal" ID. And every single one of them can easily be forged.

That means we cannot rely on such systems, because there is no way to go back in time and not only verify the authenticity of those documents, but also prevent them from being forged now or in the future. Which ultimately means that an ID is only as good as the faith you place in it at the time.

Tragically, if we take those facts to their logical conclusion, we cannot be certain that we actually elected any "Conservatives" or Republicans in the last election — either at the state or federal level. So I guess that means this whole Voter ID amendment issue is thrown into question as to it's validity, too. And that also means that when we vote down this amendment, the Republicans still won't be satisfied, so they'll be claiming there was voter fraud, and thus a need for a Voter ID law.

They just haven't realized they're on the losing side of this issue, and they can't have it both ways.

Good name for the Voter ID Amendment

The only name this proposed amendment can be given is "Don't Vote for This Amendment". The Minnesota Constitution is to serve ALL the people of Minnesota, not just the republican's. It does not deserve to be a constitutional amendment. The republican's are trying to work their grand voter ID disenfranchisement scheme nation wide. There may be voter fraud in some states, but not Minnesota. Voters, the republican's are totally leaderless. The choice is yours in November.

This ignores the key point

Republicans regard any vote for a Non-Republican as fraudulent.

And then...

When no impersonation shows up post-amendment, it will just go to show that it was all deterred.

Polar Bear Repellent

Reminds me of when we were kids and one kid would show up with a can labeled "Polar Bear Repellent".

Another kid would say "But we don't have any polar bears around here!"

To which the first kid would reply, "See - it works!"

Please tell us more ...

... about how voter fraud swept Republicans into office in the 2010 elections.

The poorly kept dirty little secret is...

Leftists are not really concerned about disenfranchising anyone. They are worried many of their core voters are too feckless, too mentally disabled or chemically dependent, or simply disconnected to care about protecting their franchise no matter how easy, or necessary that is.

Democrats like to say they work to give the disadvantaged a voice; that's nothing but papspew; I know it and you know it.

Leftists prey on the less intelligent, the less educated, the less involved; they always have, always will. They depend on their ability to motivate these people by promising more free stuff (which they and their allies will dole out)...and for many, if there is any effort at all involved on their part, it ain't free anymore.

Many people do not realize there is nothing in our constitution that affirmatively guarantees our right to vote. Yes, as a Democracy we hold that right as sacred, but that doesn't mean it's more important to gift wrap that right for people who don't even know what day it is, much less what they are voting for, at the expense of the integrity of our system as a whole.

The US Constitution may not

The US Constitution may not explicitly guarantee it (though since it is mentioned elsewhere, it's probably included as a right that is not to be disparaged by not being explicitly stated).

However, the MINNESOTA Constitution says this:

| ARTICLE VII
| ELECTIVE FRANCHISE
| Section 1. Eligibility; place of voting; ineligible persons.
| 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. ...

So, the same as in many other states, we *are* guaranteed the right to vote.

You are right JT

States are free to guarantee the voting franchise as they please. Ours will now include a common sense provision requiring us to identify ourselves.

Not true Swift. Absolutely

Not true Swift. Absolutely not true. That is a figment of your imagination.

"The right of the citizens of the United States to vote ..."

What an ugly and ignorant comment. The Constitution of the United States affirmatively guarantees - four times! - "the right of every citizen to vote" via the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments - each of which is designed to protect or expand that right against state encroachments.

Guns yes, votes, no.

So, the 2nd Amendment grants the "feckless, too mentally disabled or chemically dependent, or simply disconnected" an unfettered right to own guns, supposedly to protect themselves from our own government, but they have no such right to simply vote for the government of their choice? Talk about your "dirty secrets".

With all due respect, Cecil

Please take the time to prepare your rants a bit more carefully. All states have provisions which preclude persons with histories of mental disabilities and\or chemical dependency from carrying firearms, and many go so far as to forbid the possession in any fashion by such persons.

Well then, how about the

Well then, how about the "uneducated, uninformed, uninvolved, feckless"?

Another honest answer: It is

Another honest answer: It is not about fraud, but it is about stopping the "less educated" and "less involved" from voting. We really should call this what it is: "The Voter Suppression Amendment."

Vote buying is illegal, except in congress

The progressive politicians don't know that individuals' money is not theirs. The purpose of the Federal Government is to protect the people's private property rights and their freedom. The role of the Federal Government is not that of a nanny. Providing needed social services is a state responsibility.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."
An unsourced attribution to Alexander Tytler in "This is the Hard Core of Freedom" by Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman (9 December 1951).

"There is in fact a manly and legitimate passion for equality that spurs all men to wish to be strong and esteemed. This passion tends to elevate the lesser to the rank of the greater. But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom."
Alexis de Tocqueville

177 voters convicted of fraud in Franken election

"Felons or noncitizens sometimes register to vote or cast votes because they are confused about their eligibility. The database shows 74 cases of felons voting and 56 cases of noncitizens voting."

Some contrary information on felons voting:

Allegations of fraud, they say, are little more than pretexts conjured up by Republicans to justify voter ID laws designed to suppress Democratic turnout.

That argument becomes much harder to make after reading a discussion of the 2008 Minnesota Senate race in "Who's Counting?", a new book by conservative journalist John Fund and former Bush Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky. Although the authors cover the whole range of voter fraud issues, their chapter on Minnesota is enough to convince any skeptic that there are times when voter fraud not only exists but can be critical to the outcome of a critical race.

In the '08 campaign, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was running for re-election against Democrat Al Franken. It was impossibly close; on the morning after the election, after 2.9 million people had voted, Coleman led Franken by 725 votes.

Franken and his Democratic allies dispatched an army of lawyers to challenge the results. After the first canvass, Coleman's lead was down to 206 votes. That was followed by months of wrangling and litigation. In the end, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes. He was sworn into office in July 2009, eight months after the election.

During the controversy a conservative group called Minnesota Majority began to look into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons -- all ineligible to vote -- who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.

Minnesota Majority took the information to prosecutors across the state, many of whom showed no interest in pursuing it. But Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads. And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report, 177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. "The numbers aren't greater," the authors say, "because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and 'knowingly' voted unlawfully." The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.

Still, that's a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes. With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn't require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.
http://washingtonexaminer.com/york-when-1099-felons-vote-in-race-won-by-...

Kindly explain . . . .

how the voter ID law would prevent ineligible felons from voting.

It's a question of News21 credibility

I didn't say voter ID would stop felons from voting. I am pointing out a direct quote from the News21 kids article that nationwide there were only 74 cases of felons voting since 2000.

Skeptics of voter fraud should read a new book "Who's Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats put your vote at risk", by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, (former Federal Elections Commissioner and past Justice Dept. official). They found at least 177 cases of felons voting, just in Minnesota, in one election. How much credibilty does this group of student journalists have when stating they found only 74 felons voting since 2000 nationwide, when one only has to look to the Franken election?

The length of this article would imply they did exhaustive research on the subject of voter fraud, but admit on their website that they are basically 24 students doing a survey and some states didn't even respond to their inquires.

I'll bet they would find no fraud or waste in Federal Government programs either.

Just out of curiosity . . .

Does your driver's license say that you are not a convicted felon? They left that off of mine.

There is the additional question of why anyone would rely on Minnesota Majority as a source for anything other than a good laugh, but that one can wait.

Laughable sources?

Please cite the actual number of felons convicted of voting, if 177 is not accurate.

Are you here all week?

I was referring to Minnesota Majority. They can "identify" whatever they want. How come their "identification" has not led to massive incarceration?

Let's get to the real issue: You want to deny the right to vote to certain classes of people, largely because they may not vote the way you want them to. It is better, in your mind, to strip a right of citizenship away from thousands because fewer than 200 people voted without permission. Of course, your so-called solution would have done nothing to stop those 177 from voting. It's a classic red herring. You can shout loudly enough, distract the public, and use the misleading noise to strip away a part of democracy.

So, let me ask you this: Why do you hate America?

Dirty secrets and finding fraud

Dennis asks:

"But how do they expect to find any cases of voter impersonation when people are not required to identify themselves?"

Every voter's identity is verified as part of the voter registration process. The fact that you don't show an ID at the poll on election day does not mean you have not been identified. You have to register to vote, and every registration is verified... every single registration. Zero cases of voter impersonation, and 10 cases of in person voter fraud in 12 years NATIONWIDE.

Mr. Swift is actually expressing his own dirty little secret that of many Republicans and conservative: they don't actually believe in democracy. They don't trust it, they don't believe in universal suffrage, and they don't want people who don't vote they way vote... to vote at all.

"they don't believe in universal suffrage"

Well Paul, I can't speak for everyone, but I certainly do not believe in "universal" suffrage.

Luckily for me the franchise is not universally granted. Mental incapacity, felony convictions, non-citizens and (to the outrage of Phyllis Kahn) children are not allowed to vote.

And yes, personally, I'd like to expand the restrictions to the sorts of uneducated, uninformed, uninvolved, feckless citizens the Democrat party counts on to win elections. But counter to your assertion, I'd restrict them without regard to who they have been conned, threatened or paid into voting for. Yes, I realize that would hurt leftists more than Republicans, but it is what it is.

The problem is how to implement the restrictions fairly, and since I don't know of a good solution I'll content myself with stopgap measures such as voter ID.

You'll see Paul. It won't be too awfully bad; the Democrats will figure a way around it.

Uneducated, uninformed, uninvolved, feckless citizens

They are still citizens.

It's amusing how little respect conservatives have for their fellow Americans. Is it some kind of projected self-loathing?

"Fellow Americans"

Heh, Nice spin RB. I was speaking specifically of the uneducated, uninformed, uninvolved, feckless Americans. And you're right; those are things I have no respect for.

I don't think leftists respect them either, but they certainly find them useful.

The only thing you've

The only thing you've succeeded in doing, Tom, is demonstrating your utter contempt for your fellow citizens, and democracy in general.

Why is it Cecil...

that leftists are so utterly incapable of arguing an issue honestly?

My concept of "diversity" does not "embrace" any of the characteristics I listed, and although they are fellow citizens, they are certainly in a class by themselves.

I'm more and more convinced...

...you can't possibly believe the stuff you write.

One improvement would be to

One improvement would be to introduce a standard national ID card. Not only does each state issue its own driving license, but there are also numerous other official identity cards. But if you introduce a national ID then everyone gets to vote, which is unacceptable at the moment.

Fraud occurs where there's a payoff

Yesterday a judge sentenced two leaders of a fraud ring to long jail terms. Fake IDs were used to steal millions of dollars. One ringleader had a sheaf of IDs and lots of stolen personal data to create more.

Apparently he didn't use them to vote multiple times. Instead, he used the fake IDs to make credit card purchases and cash checks.

The payoff to the voter from so-called voter fraud is microscopic compared to financial crimes and tax evasion. That's why IDs are required for many transactions, and even that is no guarantee the fraudster is who he says he is.

National ID no solution

Bush tried that and went down in flames, none of the states would go along with it, because it was expensive, extremely complex, and basically unnecessary. Originally it was about airport security but the more you tried to actually implement it the more absurd it got. Conservatives apposed it because it smacked of totalitarianism and liberals opposed it because there's no reason to believe that a national ID would be any better or more secure than a state ID. I think they're both right. We already have a form of national ID with passports.

177 cases of fraud on the wall

Robert,

What makes you think that all these felons voted for Franken? One case we know for sure the felon left a message for his parole officer that he was off to vote for Coleman and McCain. You guys are just obsessed with nullifying elections you lose.

Furthermore, NONE of those felon cases would have been prevented by voter ID because they all had valid IDs.

No matter how you cut it, Franken won, it was close, but he won. THAT'S why he's sitting the Senate right now instead of Coleman.

Ditto to that......

No matter how you cut it, Bush won, it was close, but he won. That's why he was in the White House for eight years.

Racism... there- said it.

I'm tired of pro-ID people constantly implying that liberals are morally challenged and have to rely on fraud to win elections. These implication are particularly outrageous coming from a group of people who are trying to disenfranchise millions of voters based on racist stereotypes.

We have people constantly point to the number of felons who voted illegally and declaring with absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these felons have swung elections for Democrats. The truth is even a felons ballot is a secret ballot and there's no way to know who they vote for. So why do these people make this assumption? I'll tell ya why, because when they picture a "felon" in their minds he or she doesn't look like the white male Republican Secretary of State from Indian who was convicted of six counts of felony voter fraud... that's why. Da ya think Charlie White (that's actually his name) voted fraudulently for Democrats?

HE PLAYS THE RACE CARD!

You Democrats really have to get beyond the politics of race and division. Last time I checked Obama was black when he was elected by the largest number of votes in a presidential election in American history, with 52.9% of the vote.

I didn't support Bill Cllinton's policies, or his behavior, was this due to racism?

Maybe the real explanation for not wanting felons to vote, is that it is against the law. Felons should not be allowed to vote for Democrats or Republicans.

And so . . . . .

I ask again: Kindly explain how the voter ID amendment which Republicans want so badly would prevent ineligible felons (which Republicans keep expressing so much concern over) from voting.

Addressing a statement in the article regarding felons voting

Ms. Berg,

Can you conceive of two, separate conversations going on at the same time? I already explained to you that voter ID will not stop felons from voting.

Ms. Hoppe

That's not precisely what you said, but now that you have explicitly stated it, then please explain the logic of the "But felons are voting!" argument as a justification for the Voter ID amendment.

Them felons!

The 177 convictions for voter fraud you have been so proudly touting were felons who voted without their rights having been restored. You have just said that this statistic is irrelevant to the question of voter ID.

Glad you cleared that one up for us.

Seriously

The great part about the U.S. is we can move. So pack your bags, get a visa, and try somewhere else for a change. We did. We came to realize that it is great here . . . and our taxes are nothing compared to other places--especially for what we get! Grow up and start supporting whoever is voted into office. The only people who should be complaining are those who ran for office and lost. The rest are a bunch of whiners who are not willing to help make their country, state, county or city a better place.

Move to socialist Europe? Why, it's coming here.

Sorry, most European economies are failing, they ran out of other people's money to spend long ago.

Have you heard about the U.S. debt? Almost $16,000,000,000,000.....Greece here we come!!!!!!

Actually, "most"

Aren't failing.

Interesting commentary

Having read all the comments, I have to agree with Paul:

“…Mr. Swift is actually expressing his own dirty little secret that of many Republicans and conservative: they don't actually believe in democracy. They don't trust it, they don't believe in universal suffrage, and they don't want people who don't vote they way vote... to vote at all.”

What Mr. Swift alleges is boilerplate right wing hysteria, fueled largely by racism, and perhaps somewhat by other cultural prejudices. Most of his comment is essentially a children's rant against people he doesn't like, and to whom he ascribes quite a few negative characteristics without, of course, any supporting evidence at all.

If significant election fraud were a genuine issue, perhaps voter ID would be a sensible response.

It isn't, and it isn't.

The push for voter ID as a requirement for voting has grown out of right-wing paranoia created to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The REAL problem, as Paul suggests, is that too many people are voting for candidates of whom Mr. Swift, Mr. Tester, and others of their political persuasion do not approve. Ergo, they must be not only wrong, but criminally deceptive.

A particular shout-out to Adam Minter, who rather conclusively shows that, as is often the case, Mr. Swift doesn't know what he's talking about simply from the standpoint of facts.

"If significant election fraud were a genuine issue"

I understand that leftists see more upside to unsecured elections than they are willing to concede to secure the integrity of our franchise, Ray...I get it.

But the fact is that fraud is being discovered even in a state, like Minnesota, that has a Secretary of State that prefers to look the other way as long as it benefits his party and his financial backers. Mr. Mintner's straw man arguments may appeal to you Ray, in that they play into your comfort zone, but conclusive, or logical they ain't.

This argument isn't really teaching me anything I don't already know about leftists, and more to the point is quite moot since voter ID is virtually guaranteed in November. It would seem that the vast majority are not impressed with Mr. Mintner's ill considered twaddle any more than I am.

What Adam Mintner said . . .

"The Constitution of the United States affirmatively guarantees - four times! - 'the right of every citizen to vote' via the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments - each of which is designed to protect or expand that right against state encroachments."

Citing the Constitution of the United States is "ill considered twaddle"?

That's an odd thing for a conservative to say.

Not really

Conservatives don't care for the Constitution much. They like the Second Amendment for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with a nodding familiarity with Freud. They also like the Tenth Amendment, because they think it means the fedrul gummint can't tell them what to do. Other than that, they don't have much use for it.

Showing one's ignorance of the Constitution

The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments) all limit the power of the Federal Government, not just the Tenth.

If conservatives don't like the constitution, why are they hesitent to call it a living document and try to tinker with it like progressives do?

Conservatives LOVE the Constitution!

Except for the many parts they don't like--no religious test, free speech for all, birthright citizenship, direct election of Senators, etc.

A tutorial....

I really don't know how you arrive at your misconceptions?

Could you give specific citations about the conservative movement that wants to require a religious test for office?

Conservatives support freedom of speech. Progressives feel some speech should be limited, like imposing speech codes on campus and deeming some speech hate speech.

The 14th Ammendment was passed in 1868 after the Civil War. The original intent of the ammendment was to deal with the disfranchisement of former slaves by the southern Democrats. There may be some legitimate discussion about whether this ammendment was intended to create anchor babies and birth tourists. Several countries have changed their laws regarding citizenship.

"The United States is one of the few remaining countries to grant citizenship to all children born on its soil. The United Kingdom, Ireland, India and Australia, among others, have since revised their birthright laws, no longer allowing every child born on their soil to get citizenship."
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/birth-tourism-industry-markets-us-citizen...

The 17th Ammendment, ratified in 1913, does provide for Senators being elected directly by the people. Where is the conservative movement that opposes this ammendment?

I cannot address "etc.".

Gee, teach . . .

. . . you're not paying attention to your own people.

Try Rep. Bachmann's pal David Barton: http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=23909. Or, as Pat Robertson said, "When I said during my presidential bid that I would bring only Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media challenged me. 'You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'"

Free speech? Why don't you ask Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown about that one? Or are you still reeling from T-Paw's proposal to impose stiffer criminal fines on anti-war protesters (old news, I know)?

The US recognized birthright citizenship before the 14th Amendment. Chancellor Kent wrote about it 'way back in 1826 as settled law. What foreign coutnries do with their citizenship laws is their own business (or are you suggesting we need to apply foreign law here?).

As far as the 17th Amendment goes, ask Rick Perry, Just Antonin Scalia, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, or Rep. Jeff Flake (candidate for the Senate from Arizona). I understand this was a popular idea with some Tea Partiers.

rejected Unintentional misspellings.

Pat,

That's embarrassing, didn't see I was doing that.

I wasn't just calling RB on a typo or misspelling, if I was I could use this one from "Wrong again. Thanks for playing."; "Sometime, you might try to read the Constiutution (sic) conservatives claim to hold in such esteem." Or from "Gee, teach"; "What foreign coutnries (sic) do with their citizenship laws is their own business (or are you suggesting we need to apply foreign law here?)."

That was not the point, we all type too fast, and my misspelling was inadvertant. I was criticizing RB for employing the stereotype that conservatives all sound like uneducated sourthern hicks as in the reply to my post, RB wrote "Them felons!" or "Conservatives....because they think it means the fedrul gummint can't tell them what to do."

Also as a note of interest I don't think this whole comment was intended to be included on the site. I did not put the word (lower case at the beginning of the subject line?) "rejected" in the title of my post.

So I'm off by 100 years

It's not the 19th century that conservatives want to throw us back to. It's the 18th.

Who needs progress anyway? Bring on the bloodletting and the leeches!

Perhaps, Pat...

you don't know what "affirmative guarantee" means. The amendments listed forbid discrimination based on race, gender or ability to pay a poll tax, but none of them affirmatively guarantee the right to vote.

For your education:

https://www.google.com/search?q=constitution+affirmatively+guarantees+vo...

Robert, it's very simple

Robert,

You assume all these felons are voting for Democrats and therefore felons put Franken in office. We KNOW that assumption is NOT based on any available facts. If that assumption isn't based on racial stereotypes then what is it? All you have to do is explain why you make that assumption.

If all you want to do is prevent felons from voting, blame Pawlenty. The legislature passed a law on a overwhelmingly bipartisan basis that gave the Secretary of States office the ability to cross check voter registrations with the felon database. That one simple and inexpensive law would have prevented all of the felon votes. Pawlenty vetoed it. Why? Because had that law gone into effect there would have been zero instances of voter fraud. The agenda here isn't to prevent fraud, it's to reduce voter turnout. So who is it that Republicans don't want voting? Whoever they are, they don't look like Charlie White.

There is one exception, it's not all about race. The Republicans have to block the senior vote as well in order to dismantle social security and medicare/medicaid.

Felons voting are ... what?

Regarding your first paragraph: One CAN assume, wrong as it may be (how would we know?), that felons tend to vote for Democrats more than for Republicans --- without there being anything racist about the assumption.

YOUR statement's underlying (racist) assumption it seems to me, is: a felon is a non-white person and that is likely to be the case in the future as well.

Put another way, if I were to say "felons, as a group, tend to vote Democrat", and you were to say, "that's a racist statement", I would say back to you, "you apparently categorize my statement as racist because YOU think of felons as non-white and assume that I also think that."

The Voter Suppression Amendment

Words Matter, Minnesotans. Let's start calling the proposed amendment what it is: The Words Matter, Minnesotans. Let's start calling the proposed amendment what it is: The Voter Suppression Amendment. Don't allow the conservatives to set the tone, terms and connotations of this amendment by calling it the innocent-sounding Voter ID Amendment. Suppression Amendment. Don't allow the conservatives to set the tone, terms and connotations of this amendment by calling it the innocent-sounding Voter ID Amendment.

Learn About Amendments Before Voting

Even if you want voter ID, what you should be reading about is "constitutional amendments". MANY supporters of voter ID will vote no on this particular amendment because of the mess and cost it will cause by having it be a constitutional amendment. For one, did you know that if it turns out there is something in the amendment that turns out to be impossible or difficult to acheive we must re-vote. And don't forget, if everyone doesn't understand it or doesn't care, not voting won't clear the problem. Also, right now there is no definition of "government issued ID". That means that once the new session begins in January they will have to come to an agreement on a definition, then have all of the free IDs issued and ready to go by July, 2013 for the election. I don't care which party you are from--we all know that our governmental bodies do not come to an agreement that quickly--not to mention buying the equipment and setting up the system to get the IDs to everyone who needs them. Voter ID can be done by law rather than amendment. That way when our methods of voting and ID change in the future, it won't take a majority vote of the apathetic public to make the change. Voters need to know what they are doing! By the way, how many have actually read the wording of the amendment (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2738.3.html&session=ls87)--it's not the statement that will be on the ballot, although I think it should be!

Expanding restrictions

I missed this because as a general rule I don't read Mr. Switft's posts but a while back he said this:

"And yes, personally, I'd like to expand the restrictions to the sorts of uneducated, uninformed, uninvolved, feckless citizens the Democrat party counts on to win elections."

I had pointed out that Repubulican/conservative dirty little secret is that they don't actually believe in Democracy, and don't believe in universal suffrage- this is part of Mr. Swift's reply.

Two points, first it confirms my observation and I would point out that Mr. Swift's opinion is widely agreed with in Republican quarters, if this just Mr. Swift it could be ignored, but his statement is echoed by the people who actually put the ID amendment on the ballot. Second, it illustrates the duplicity of these voter ID laws, they're not about integrity, they're about restrictions. When did we decide that the big problem in America is that voting rights aren't restricted enough? We've spent 200 years expanding voting rights under the belief that "the people" means everyone, but here we find that the REAL problem is that too many people are voting and we have to restrict voting rights. THAT'S what voter ID laws are really about. The problem isn't integrity, or accurate counts, or access, it's creating and implementing restrictions.

Christian Nation?

Robert offers this extensive quote:

"[I]n what sense can [America] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world."

Basically this statement declares that despite the fact that the US can in no way be described as a Christian nation, they do it anyways. OK. Just understand that the rest of us are in no way required to take your irrationality seriously and we're certainly not obligated to make law based on such drivel.