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Another look at who is pushing Voter ID

In case anyone who cares has also forgotten ... Alexandra Tempus of the AP files a report on the national drive pushing Voter ID: “A proposed constitutional amendment to require a photo ID for Minnesota voters is part of a surge of similar legislation nationwide, much of it springing from a conservative organization that's well-known to politicians but operates largely out of public view. Six states enacted a strict photo ID requirement last year, and this year lawmakers in 31 other states are considering it. Minnesota's Republican-controlled Legislature actually passed such a requirement last year but Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed it — prompting its backers to seek an amendment on the November ballot that Dayton cannot block. … The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has offered its ideas on voter ID for anyone interested in taking them. Established in 1973, the organization offers state lawmakers a menu of model bills on a range of issues: from business-friendly changes to the civil legal system to reducing regulations backed by environmentalists. ... ALEC approved its model policy for voter ID in 2009. Cara Sullivan, a legislative analyst, said in an email that it was ‘just one of hundreds of models’ that ALEC had produced. … Democrats complained of ALEC's influence earlier this session. In February, Dayton vetoed four Republican-backed bills that would have made sweeping changes to the state's civil legal system; he said then that three of the four bills were directly influenced by an ALEC manual. When asked about the claim, a Senate GOP spokesman said he could give no immediate comment.” ... But give him a day to make a couple of calls.

Related ... The Minnesota Majority claims to have found an instance of voter fraud and wants the promised $1,000 "reward" offered by the local ACLU group. Says Jim Ragsdale at the Strib: “Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, produced court records from an Anoka County case involving voting in the 2008 election. The records concern an Andover woman who was charged with three felonies. According to the records, prosecutors believe she voted in person in her own name, and by absentee ballot in the name of her daughter, who was away at college. The daughter also voted near her college in the same election. The mother, according to records produced by McGrath, pleaded guilty to one of the charges and was sentenced to probation in August of 2011. McGrath and his organization are strong supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment requiring all voters to show a photo ID. ‘If you look for voter fraud in Minnesota, you'll find it,’ he said in a statement on Tuesday.”

The Strib’s Richard Meryhew got the job of giving (a couple of) citizens less than delighted with a taxpayer-funded Vikings stadium a little ink: “From Linden Hills to the tornado-battered blocks of the city's North Side, with a mix of anger, anticipation or a hint of resignation, Minneapolis residents are deep in debate and quite divided over whether the city should help pay for a $975 million downtown football stadium near the current Metrodome site.” The first interviews then go like this: “ ‘Majority rule, that's the right way to do it,’ said Nelson, 71, a longtime barber in south Minneapolis. ‘That's the American way, right’?” And … ‘Some, such as Hashi, a chef and restaurant owner at the Midtown Global Market, say they support city funding for a new stadium even if it means bypassing a voter referendum, a move advocated by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. ‘I side with Rybak on that one’, said Hashi, 30, a Somali immigrant who grew up in Minneapolis watching the Vikings with his family and friends. ‘There is no down side to it for the city or the state. It's something that brings people together. It's fun, so why the hell not’?"  Now, back to the Chamber of Commerce …

Is $750 enough to make you consider moving to Minnesota and retiring?  Tim Pugmire at MPR says: “The top Democrat in the Minnesota Senate is taking issue with a Republican plan to expand the state tax credit available to military veterans. The proposed legislation would eliminate the current income parameters for the credit, and provide every eligible veteran with $750. The cost of the tax credit is estimated at $40 million over the next three years. During a Senate tax committee hearing today, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said the bill will cut into education funding for the current biennium and add to the debt already projected for the next biennium. … The bill's chief author is Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona. Miller said he thinks the tax credit could pay for itself by attracting more veterans to Minnesota to live and retire. ‘They'll be buying homes here,’ Miller said. ‘They'll be starting businesses, either starting families or maybe having grandchildren here in the state of Minnesota. So, let's encourage people to move to the state of Minnesota and not leave the state of Minnesota.' "

GOP Rep. Mary Franson’s “animals” video has gone national. At the Huffington Post, Leigh Owens writes: “In a message to constituents last week, Republican Minnesota State Rep. Mary Franson seemed to compare food stamp recipients to wild animals. Franson's speech began by giving good news to the people of Minnesota's District 11B about a surplus in the state budget. Then Franson decided to read ‘this funny little quote we got from a friend.’ ‘Isn't it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever,’ Franson said. ‘Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.’ … Franson is not the first elected official to make insulting comments about individuals receiving public assistance. In 2010, former Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R-SC) made similar comments, comparing people who receive government assistance to stray animals.” And you know what’s really funny? At some point it seemed like a good idea.

Curtis Gilbert at MPR explains some of the fine print about who must agree to what and when as regards the Vikings stadium deal: “The stadium bill isn't out yet, but Dayton's point man on the project, Ted Mondale, said the Minneapolis City Council will have a vote, because of something called a ‘special law’ — a law which applies only to one city, county or geographic area. ‘It requires by law that the local jurisdiction, in this instance Minneapolis, vote for that,’ Mondale said. For example, if the legislature wants some of the sales and hospitality taxes collected in Minneapolis to go toward a new Vikings Stadium, the state constitution would require the approval of the Minneapolis City Council. There's an exception to that rule, said University of Minnesota law professor Fred Morrison. ‘There's a big if, because the Legislature has the power if it passes a general law that applies to, for example, all football stadiums, then it wouldn't have to have local approval,’ Morrison said. In other words: The Legislature has the ability to circumvent the City Council. But Dayton said he's not interested in doing that.”

As blame-placing strategies go, making a show of saying the cops killed off your gun bill doesn’t sound like a winner. But that’s where GOP Rep. Tony Cornish has gone. At MPR, Madeleine Baran reports: “GOP state lawmaker Tony Cornish criticized law enforcement officials Tuesday for helping defeat a bill that would have expanded the rights of gun owners to use deadly force in self defense. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the bill Monday. The legislation would have expanded the allowable use of deadly force if people believe they are in imminent danger in a home, hotel room, car, boat or tent. It also would have required Minnesota to accept gun permits from every state, including those that have less restrictive gun laws. … ‘I don't blame the governor,’ he said on The Daily Circuit. ‘I blame the law enforcement talking heads that brought this argument to him.' "

We have legislative action on a bill that would address legal issues in that $255K public school pay-out in Burnsville. Says Christopher Magan in the PiPress: “The House Education Finance Committee voted Tuesday to forward a bill to the civil law committee that would update the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act to require greater disclosure of the reasons employees receive payouts under separation agreements. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville, introduced the measure after her home school district came under fire for paying Tania Z. Chance $254,814 to leave her job as human resources director just seven months into an 18-month contract. Board members have refused to say why they agreed to pay Chance to resign, citing privacy provisions in the data practices act.”

I hope Piers Morgan wasn’t actually surprised that Our Favorite Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, didn’t answer his questions and thought him “rude” during her appearance on his CNN show last night: “CNN host Piers Morgan clashed with his guest Rep. Michele Bachmann on Monday, after the congresswoman called Morgan rude to his face. During the interview, Morgan replayed a clip of his interview with actor Kirk Cameron, who called same-sex marriage ‘unnatural’ and ‘ultimately destructive.’ ‘Do you agree with him?’ Morgan asked. ‘I am not here to be anybody's judge,’ Bachmann said. ‘Well you've been pretty judgmental in the past, come on,’ Morgan responded. Bachmann's eyes grew wide. ‘Me?’ she asked. ‘Hardly, hardly, hardly, hardly, hardly.’ Morgan pressed Bachmann and said she was ‘one of the judgmental people in America probably.’ ‘Well that's rude’, Bachmann fired back. ‘That's absolutely rude. I'm not a judgmental person.’ Morgan defended his question and said he was not being rude, but called Bachmann ‘very outspoken’ on the issue of same-sex marriage. ‘You have been very, very outspoken about gay marriage, about homosexuality, in the past and people will view it, whether you think it is judgmental or not, as very judgmental. So I'm surprised that you think that I'm being rude by asking you about views that you very, very vociferously espouse,’ he said.” How dare an uppity Brit talk like that to a serious (real) American elected official!

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Comments (14)

Once again, they don't let the facts...

get in the way of their preconceived notions. Just troll a few of the conservative blogs and see them patting themselves on the back for "winning" the $1,000 prize from the ACLU. The trouble is, the challenge was not just to find Voter Fraud, but Voter Fraud that Photo ID Would Prevent.And, of course, they failed. But hey, don't let something like logic interfere with your Tea Party dogma.

Game, set, up.

The instance of fraud that was uncovered involves one of the "victim" groups that have been trotted out by fans of unsecured balloting....those poor college students.

If she had been required to have produced a valid ID before voting, prosecutors wouldn't "believe" she voted in person in her own name, they'd know it.

I'd say that meets the ACLU's rules of the game.

voter fraud

It is a common suspicion that college students vote multiple times. First, they vote by absentee ballot in their home precinct. Then they roam from precinct to precinct voting under fake names in the city where their college is located. They don't believe this is cheating because "the ends justify the means." Whether this fraud is actually happening is unknown, but many people in Minnesota suspect it is.

"Whether this fraud is actually happening is unknown . . ."

What people suspect is irrelevant. What do "people" know, and how do they know it?

The ACLU challenge

The ACLU challenge reads:

"$1,000 Reward offered for any no good lyin' cheatin' vote stealin' rascal who would have been caught if the currently proposed Voter ID Amendment had already been enacted by the state of Minnesota."

The story above says the mother voted in person in her own name. Had she been required to produce a valid ID, it would have shown that she was who she said she was. The voter ID would not have been the reason she was "caught".

I'd say the ACLU challenge still stands.

Pay up

Pat, the story says The story above says prosecutors "believe" the mother voted in person in her own name. They couldn't prove that because the mother was never required to produce an ID.

Voter ID solves that problem. The challenge has been met, now it's time to pay up.

I hope Dan uses it to join ALEC...

ACLU challenge

I'll give the pro-Voter ID folks one here in the interest of good sport. And they have the nice, shiny example they were looking for (looking doggedly, and for weeks, apparently). This was indeed a case of duplicate ballot casting.

The sticking point is that this single case of voter fraud was discovered and prosecuted under current policy and law. Hmm. No election was swayed because of this. Hmm. The extra vote was cast by a mom trying to help her daughter, not as part of some grand and dastardly conspiracy to hijack an election. (Moms. Can't trust 'em. Harrumph. We need an Anti-Mom Amendment.)

And if we accept all these concerns as valid, why not adopt the much cheaper and faster-to-deploy alternative of electronic polling books? No meddling with the Constitution needed. Save millions, and still *help* people--true-blooded American citizens--to vote. But no...

P.S. If the elections in Minnesota are so riddled with fraud, then how can we trust that the Republicans in fact won control of the Legislature? Bunch of election thieves, then?


As a Catholic Christian, I believe that comparing food stamp recipients to wild animals is most definitely NOT pro-life. All pro-lifers should be outraged. Not that I'm holding my breath.

is the bachmann piece ?

Boy real fraud was a foot last night on CNN! I vote for a replay. Maybe we'll see the bachmann I'd.

I’m not sure who has the

I’m not sure who has the upper hand on the “voter fraud” discussion. The college student voted properly, ’twould appear, while it was the college student’s *mother* who voted fraudulently. Maybe the ACLU owes $1,000, and maybe it doesn’t. The voter in question cast two ballots, and perhaps the ID Amendment would have prevented one of those votes from being cast, but it would have no effect on her other vote. Meanwhile, that same ID Amendment would have had no effect on the college student’s vote, since she is, apparently, who she says she is, and voted appropriately.

Lost in the hysteria of the moment, however, is a reasonable question:

Is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to hold an election on a constitutional amendment that – so far, at least – would change (or in this case, disallow) exactly one vote a prudent use of those funds when the state is up to its eyeballs in debt, and already owes billions of constitutionally-required dollars to its own school districts? This strikes me as a *huge* waste of time, energy and money, especially when the proposed amendment would not have kept said voter from voting. Only from voting for her daughter, as well. When we see credible evidence that there are significant numbers of people (by which I mean several thousand, enough, say, to change the outcome of the last gubernatorial election) doing this, *then* a serious discussion of the merits and drawbacks of Voter ID might be in order.

So far as I can tell, no such evidence has been produced. Instead, we have some undocumented allegations, which prove nothing and mean even less. A single vote – at least in that reality-based universe that some commenters seem to detest – is hardly evidence of "massive" voter fraud.

Another case

of people who can't solve real problems inventing fake ones as a distraction.

Of course, one can always read the article in question

The real question, who procured the absentee ballot in the first place, has not been addressed. If the student legally procured it and then changed her mind about casting an absentee ballot, then it seems an ID wouldn't have stopped it. If the mother obtained it herself, it might have, depending upon how the final language of any proposed amendment reads.

"The Anoka County Attorney's office said Nyhammer, 52, of Andover, is believed to have cast her own ballot in Precinct 6 in Andover on Nov. 4, 2008. Prior to that, she voted by absentee ballot in her daughter's name. That ballot was dated Oct. 26, 2008.The daughter voted legally on Nov. 4 in Precinct 13 in Mankato,where she was attending college.

Prosecutors at first contacted the daughter, believing she voted in two places, and she said she had never voted by absentee ballot. Her mother admitted "that she completed the absentee ballot for her daughter and voted absentee on her daughter's behalf," the criminal complaint stated. "The defendant stated that she did not think her daughter would be voting in Mankato."

According to the County Attorney's office, Nyhammer was charged with three felonies -- voting more than once in the same election, casting a false absentee ballot certificate, and making a false statement in an absentee ballot application.

Nyhammer released a copy of her statement to the judge, in which she explained that she believed she was legally filling out her daughter's ballot -- not attempting to vote twice -- and that Nyhammer thought her daughter would not be voting in Mankato. The judge agreed, according to the court transcript.

"This is a situation that would have been stopped by the voter ID amendment,'' said McGrath of Minnesota Majority. Such a proposal "would have required a positive identification from the voter before the ballot would be accepted," he added. With the daughter away at school, McGrath said, "the mother couldn't have provided proof of identity to cast that ballot."

Samuelson of the ACLU said this was an "absentee ballot issue," and the "sticky wicket" of the photo ID requirement is that details such as how absentee voters would be treated will be left up to the 2013 Legislature. For example, if absentee voters are not required to provide a photo ID in Minnesota, it is questionable whether this fraud would have been stopped."

It is a common suspicion that college students vote multiple tim

Common suspicion by whom, Rosaland? Certainly no one that isn't wearing a tin foil hat, that's for sure. This vision of roving bands of college kids, navigating precinct after precinct is comedy gold. Good lord, these kids want all of their bars on the same street, within walking distance. Get back to us when you actually speak with a kid...any kid that's currently in college.

Poor, Poor, Poor Mickey Bachmann

ALWAYS the victim, always being hurt by those mean, nasty GLBT folks and their friends,...

even when that hurt only involves asking her to repeat what she has said over and over and over again in many, many, many places.

Mickey, your middle name IS "judgmental," especially when it comes to GLBT folks.

Next thing you know she'll be dressed in high heels and pearls and hiding in the bushes, keeping an eye on Piers Morgan's whereabouts.