Voter ID crowd says Minnesota is tops in voter fraud

AFTERNOON EDITION

Voter fraud? Higher in Minnesota than anywhere else in the country … says the crowd spearheading Voter ID laws. Andy Birkey’s Minnesota Independent story says: “Minnesota Majority, a group that advocated for an overhaul of Minnesota’s voter registration and voter identification laws during this year’s legislative session, released a report Thursday that asserts that Minnesota had the highest number of voter fraud conviction stemming from the 2008 election. Progressive groups countered that the proposed laws that would have prevented felons from voting in Minnesota were not supported by the group. … Minnesota Majority says that there have been 113 convictions due to felons voting in the 2008 elections. Their statistics come out of the 2.9 million Minnesota voters who voted in 2008, or about 0.004 percent of the 2008 voting population.” Like I said … “rampant.”

Gov. Dayton and top legislative leaders will be talking stadium and special session, says a Strib story by Mike Kaszuba and Rachel Stassen-Berger. “Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said Thursday that the team hopes to meet with the governor next week but that no date has been set. The team has made clear it wants a special session approving the Arden Hills project by the end of this year, but significant hurdles remain. There is still no state funding plan, no clear political roadmap to getting the needed 102 votes at the State Capitol and continued doubts about the sprawling suburban site the Vikings have chosen for a 65,000-seat stadium. As governor, only Dayton has the authority to call a special session. He has said he will begin meeting with legislators and others next week. Some of those discussions could start earlier.” 

Still, I doubt the Cheeseheads are pleased. An item in the Pierce County Herald says: “Cattle from Minnesota no longer have to be tested for bovine tuberculosis before they’re brought into Wisconsin. U.S. Agriculture officials have declared Minnesota’s cattle to be free-of-TB, six years after an infected beef herd was discovered in the northwest part of the Gopher State. That led the USDA to downgrade Minnesota’s TB status — and Wisconsin and other states ordered testing requirements on imported animals.”

Minnesota’s GOP delegation, and a Blue Dog, are set on loosening federal regulations. Brett Neely of MPR says: “Republicans in Congress, including the Minnesota delegation, contend that government regulations are holding back job creation, and there are GOP efforts in both the House and Senate to move legislation cutting red tape. But the potential effectiveness of such bills is open for debate. … Minnesota’s Republican House members have backed the bills, as has Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-Dist. 7, who frequently votes with Republicans on environmental issues. … Republicans have a point, said economist Michael Greenstone, who studies the effects of environmental regulations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also served a brief stint in the White House early in the Obama Administration. ‘Regulations have costs and those costs manifest themselves in reduced profits for firms and in workers losing their jobs in the industries that get regulated,’ Greenstone said. ‘The last 40 years of the Clean Air Act have certainly reduced the extent of manufacturing — and polluting activity — in the United States,’ Greenstone said. ‘On the other side, they’ve produced tremendous benefits,’ he added. ‘The air is cleaner. We lead longer and healthier lives. We have to spend less on healthcare than we otherwise would.’ “

There are some smart kids in the U of M’s freshman class. The AP reports: “The freshman class at the University of Minnesota’s flagship Twin Cities campus arrived with the highest-ever average ACT scores and the highest number of National Merit Scholars. A new report from the university staff to the regents says the average ACT composite score of the freshman class is 27.5, up from 27.2 last year and 25.2 in 2006.”

If OccupyMN demonstrators pitch tents, there could be problems. Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Participants in the anti-Wall Street protest in downtown Minneapolis said Friday that they will pitch tents as more brisk weather sets in this weekend, a move that runs counter to the rules established before the encampment settled in nearly a week ago. Since the OccupyMN protest began at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza, the participants have been sleeping overnight without shelter. ‘As the weather gets colder, for the health and safety of all of the occupiers exercising their First Amendment rights, we decided at last night’s general assembly that we will hold a rally and set up tents this Saturday at 4 p.m.,’ the protesters said in a statement released early Friday.”

Zamboni drivers to the rescue! Brandon Stahl’s Duluth News Tribune story says: “Thomas Lund and Aaron Hinnenkamp aren’t just your ordinary Zamboni drivers. Quick action by the two Amsoil Arena ice maintenance workers might have helped save a life last week. Rich Mertz was taking his first skate of the year Oct. 6 with a group of friends who play pickup hockey every Thursday at the arena when, about four minutes before their time was up, the 33-year-old got tangled up with a friend in what he calls ‘a total freak accident.’ His friend got tripped on Mertz’s hockey stick and, as his friend kicked his leg out, his skate struck the right side of Mertz’s face, going through his cheek and cutting two arteries.” … Not a story for the squeamish.

Obviously I’d never make a good scammer, because this baffles me. A Grand Forks Herald story says: “The Polk County sheriff’s office is investigating a case involving a suspect who used a telecommunications relay system in a possible attempt to scam a local restaurant. According to a release by the department, on Monday, the Deuce Bar and Grill in Erskine, Minn., was contacted by a person through a telecommunications relay system used by people who cannot hear or speak. The caller put in a large food order purportedly for a wedding party and said a catering service would pick up the food. The order came to $1,100. The suspect tried to pay with a MasterCard, telling the business to charge $2,000, $900 of which purportedly would go to the catering company.”

Cable food star Guy Fieri isn’t happy about how he is portrayed in the City Pages cover story … with which he declined to cooperate. Gregory Pratt writes: “Guy Fieri is firing back at this week’s City Pages cover story, which chronicled the rise of the Food Network’s hit show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the collapse of Fieri’s relationship with its producer, David Page. In a formal statement released by Team Fieri, the Food Network star denies being homophobic or anti-Semitic. The statement claimed the feature was riddled with ‘omissions, basic errors, and complete fabrications.’ ” Says a Fieri-people statement, “ ‘Guy’s reputation speaks for itself. He’s a standup guy who does right by people. He would never make the kind of comments attributed to him in this story, and anyone who knows or has even met him knows that. That Mr. Page made these sadly desperate statements says more about him than it does about Guy or anyone on the Food Network team.’ ” 

Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by David Greene on 10/14/2011 - 03:45 pm.

    Remember, it’s not “Voter ID,” it’s “Voter Suppression.”

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/14/2011 - 03:56 pm.

    Looks like we’ll need give election judges internet access so they can check each voter’s criminal record before giving them ballots. That’ll fix ’em.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/14/2011 - 04:32 pm.

    “Their statistics come out of the 2.9 million Minnesota voters who voted in 2008, or about 0.004 percent of the 2008 voting population.” Like I said … “rampant.”

    Ah, so Bri, voter fraud is like Spam in scrambled eggs…not bad if there’s only a little bit.

  4. Submitted by Susanna Patterson on 10/14/2011 - 05:10 pm.

    I’m echoing David Greene’s comment (I hope he’s not trying to mock the message) and adding that the proposed voter ID mechanism is not designed to prevent convicted felons who have not completed their sentences from voting. There is no provision for the inclusion of that information on the ID, nor would it prevent people from voting in the wrong precinct. Actual cases of voters impersonating other voters were non-existent — and that is the only thing that the ID is designed to prevent.
    Nationally, from 2003 to 2007, an analysis of more than 300 million individual voting records turned up only 86 cases — less than 0.00003% of all votes cast!This program would be costly to implement and would deny many people the right to vote who are currently registered and who vote legally, regularly — and, I might add, patriotically.

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/14/2011 - 05:46 pm.

    According to my $12 calculator, Brian, 113 conviction out of 2.9 million votes cast is 0.0000389 percent. Rounded off, instead of 4 one-thousandths of one percent, it’s 4 ten-thousandths of one percent.

    As you said, “…rampant.”

    Minnesota Majority may have reasons for advocating voter I.D., but voter fraud can’t be allowed to be among them. Whenever they suggest it, there ought to be many voices in the room drowning them out with hysterical laughter.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/14/2011 - 05:54 pm.

    The nerve of these people, actually thinking that citizens can vote (the ‘felons’ were not in jail — they had supposedly served their debt to society and were rehabilitating themselves as useful citizens).
    And if you look up ‘fraud’ in the dictionary, you’ll see that it entails a deliberate intent to deprive someone else of something specific of value.

  7. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/14/2011 - 07:45 pm.

    Election fraud is a far more serious problem than voter fraud.

    Many states use voting machines that leave no paper trail, produced by private companies that keep their software secret. There have been suspicious results in which the announced results were wildly off from both the pre-election polls and the exit polls, and there is no way to do a recount, since all the data are in the machine and will yield the same result each time.

    But there’s a problem with elections that no public officials can verify. I had one computer science course nearly 30 years ago, and I can think of two algorithms for undetectable ways of cheating.

    Suppose A and B are running, and you want A to win. If you know that the polls heavily favor B, all you have to do is write a program in which every nth vote for B (“n” varies depending on the number of percentage points B is expected to come out ahead of A) is put in A’s column.

    The other way is simply. If B wins, simply reverse the totals for A and B.

    In either case, the vote totals remain the same, so while voters after the election may ask one another, “Did you vote for A? I didn’t vote for A. I don’t know anyone who did,” there is no way to prove cheating, since the voting machine companies will not let anyone see their software.

  8. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/14/2011 - 11:17 pm.

    Ah.. So ‘Voter Id’ is kinda like a solution in search of a problem? Voting is a constitutional right. Driver licenses and checking accounts and other various transactions requiring ID, not so much….

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/15/2011 - 12:00 am.

    Karen–
    I’ve heard of this potential problem before.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the tampered software from the voting machine company would be retrievable from each machine, and thus potential evidence against that company.
    There would seem to be a large risk factor here.
    I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen, but we would have to explain why someone would take that risk.

  10. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/15/2011 - 08:54 am.

    The truth is, if we eliminated same-day registration, absentee ballots for out-of-state college kids, required photo ID, and stamping the back of your hand like they do at the nightclubs, the democrats would never win another election.

    And that’s why they’re fighting so hard to defeat a simple and obvious thing like proving who you are before voting.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/15/2011 - 08:56 am.

    It really surprises me that Dayton is so tone deaf to the dramatic emergence of a popular anti-oligarch movement springing up on his doorstep. While the Occupy Wall Street movement goes worldwide, he’s going out of his way to set up a billion dollar subsidy for an out of state billionaire. He refuses to even grant a five minute interview to critics of stadium subsidies.

  12. Submitted by Morgan Matthews on 10/15/2011 - 09:55 am.

    Somehow I got on the “Minnesota Majority” e-mailing list. These guys are particularly squalid footsoldiers of the extreme right. They, and other groups like them, create circular reference loops on Google; citing each others’ press releases and referencing very dubious “statistics.” These references and citations are then cherry-picked and quoted by the lower-level think-tank drones, who are in turn cited by more prominent water-carrying columnists and eventually, politicos themselves.

    Regarding actual voter fraud, one of the only documented cases was in fact one Ann Coulter, who voted twice in the 2006 election; once in Connecticut and once in Florida. She votes in Connecticut despite being registered to vote in New York City.

    But that isn’t what bothers “Minnesota Majority.” Their e-mails are pretty clear. It’s black people and Mexicans they’re worried about. And apparently Democrats hire busloads of homeless people and drive them from precinct to precinct to vote multiple times. Because, of course, Democrats need all the help they can get in Minneapolis and St. Paul precincts, I guess. If it weren’t for all the “fraud”, I suppose M.M. thinks Democrats would only win by 70% – 30%, rather than by 85% – 15%.

    Minnesota Majority is a pretty despicable group of true cynics. They really do think that whatever advances their agenda is perfectly acceptable, by definition. The fact that even their own, highly dubious and falsely portrayed, statistics show voter fraud to be as rare as hen’s teeth in Minnesota, yet they think we should risk restricting access to the ballot box for thousands of Minnesotans who might vote for Democrats tells you everything you need to know.

  13. Submitted by Dick Novack on 10/15/2011 - 04:26 pm.

    I am no fan of Minnesota Majority having fought them at the Campaign Finance Board for not registering campaign involvement (I lost because they were ruled “educational” and can spend whatever they want undeclared).

    HOWEVER,

    ● Minnesota is the land of close elections with numerous wins by differences only in the low hundreds. Those few votes do matter.

    ● More than felons voting, I am concerned about muster out the vote campaigns I’ve seen in the immigrant communities where I believe people are taken to vote, vouched for in small groups, and who, legally, are not voting citizens – they are tag-alongswhooften donotunderstand they arenot supposed to vote. There simply is nothing other than someone’s word. A state ID, free if necessary, at least makes possible after the fact checks for illegal voting.

    ● I believe the suppression arguments are bogus. Many places I must show an ID when I run a credit card. All the low income workers in our company have ID’s. We needed ID for family in elder care and nursing home care. You have already completed the ID process if you have become a naturalized citizen. It just is not that hard.

  14. Submitted by Ann Richards on 10/15/2011 - 10:29 pm.

    Dick, I hate to beat a dead horse, but the suppression arguments are not bogus- you do not need a picture ID to get into a nursing home- my father is in one and gave up his license 5 years ago- that was his last picture ID. He has a checking account, and has all kinds of business conducted on his behalf all without a picture ID. I took a survey in my senior apartment- I asked 6 people how many had a picture ID with their current address. 2 did. One had an old address and since she no longer drives she won’t correct the address. I asked the others if they had access to their birth certificate and marriage certificate- they had no idea. I told them the cost of obtaining both (only women will pay the extra charge of the marriage certificate) and 4 said they will not bother to vote if it means an extra charge. I asked if they are currently registered to vote- all 6 are.

  15. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/16/2011 - 12:06 pm.

    Dick–
    You have no Federal right to use a credit card.
    There’s a difference.
    And your allegations still need to be proven.
    Both parties are supposed to have poll watchers at all voting sites; I would expect anything as blatant as you describe to be challenged by the GOP watchers.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2011 - 07:29 pm.

    Dick,

    It is a felony to provide a false vouch for someone, basically it’s perjury. Very few people are going to risk becoming a convicted felon in order to commit election fraud on behalf of a candidate. Like I pointed out in an earlier thread, the drive to disenfranchise here is also targeting same day registration, and vouching. The voucher system was created because there are significant numbers of voters who do not have any of the other means of verifying an address on election day. Senior citizens, or others in group living situations, women in shelters, etc.

  17. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/16/2011 - 08:02 pm.

    Let’s take this back to where the discussion started:

    It’s NOT about voter I.D. reducing voter fraud. There IS NOT statistically verifiable voter fraud (despite lots of “my aunt’s uncle’s sister’s cousin’s friend knows an election judge who SWORE that… anecdotes).

    IT’S ABOUT VOTER SUPPRESSION.

    Groups such as “Minnesota Majority” have one goal in mind (despite the pretty window dressing and bogus statistics they trot out endlessly): they want to make sure that lots of people whose votes they would disagree with find themselves unable to vote.

    They are, by their actions and attitudes ANTIDEMOCRATIC and seeking nothing more nor anything else but to assist the big money oligarchy (against which Occupy Wall Street is protesting) in their takeover of our state and nation.

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