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Republicans, League of Women Voters go at it over Voter ID

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer

The author of a proposed constitutional amendment to require a photo ID when voting is offering an olive branch to the bill’s most vocal opponent.

“When this passes… I would expect the League of Women Voters to work with us,” said state Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, Republican from Big Lake.

The League is not accepting. “If it passes the Legislature, we will continue to educate voters.  If it passes [in November], we will have to take a look at both options — try to make it work or go to court,” says Laura Wang, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota.

For Minnesota Republicans, the debate over photo ID legislation has placed the League of Women Voters in the ranks of Common Cause and the ACLU.  Discourse has widened into open antagonism.

“They packed a recent committee hearing to pitch lies,” is how Minnesota Majority, a pro-Republican grass roots organization, describes the League’s efforts to oppose voter ID. 

“A video scam,” is how the League describes the undercover video on voter impersonation by James O’Keefe, the activist who helped dismantle ACORN. 

Kiffmeyer and Wang dutifully lob their arguments, back and forth: Close elections require scrutiny of every vote. It’s difficult to get an ID without identification. The League has lost all of its court challenges, including with the U.S. Supreme Court. That ruling can be challenged now that the laws have shown undesirable consequences.

But in the end, Republicans are convinced that the League’s objection is more than policy or politics. It’s partisanship. 

“The once-independent but now agenda-driven League of Women Voters,” is how GOP state Rep. Keith Downey describes the League in a newsletter to residents in his moderate Edina district. “The League’s position on photo ID is just one small part of its overall policy agenda.”

‘‘If you look at the politics, the League takes positions that fall in line with a certain political party,” said Kiffmeyer, whose experiences with the League of Women Voters dates back to her days as Minnesota secretary of state. “A long time ago the League was less partisan. They are coasting on their reputation. How can we trust them to moderate a candidate forum? A hidden agenda as become an obvious agenda.”

Wang doesn’t disagree that that the tone of the debate has changed. “This is longstanding issue at the state Capitol that has turned into a partisan issue,” she said. “The debate has really ramped up.”

She defended the League’s positions. “We’ve built relationships; there will be opportunities to work together. We’ve always placed a premium on civil discourse and non-partisanship,” she said. “I think we have shown the ability to maintain our relationships and maintain our integrity.”

But the battle over Voter ID will be an extended one that promises to further frost over relationships between Republicans and the League of Women Voters.

Comments (41)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/16/2012 - 09:30 am.

    Is it surprising that a party that has as it’s presidential candidates people that variously require women to “submit” to their husbands, or bar women from being priests of their religion (Mormons and Catholics of the Santorum stripe), have turned with vitriol to the league of Women Voters?

    What happens when common sense becomes defined as partisanship?

    What happens when opinions based on facts as expressed by knowledgeable witnesses become “lies”?

    What happens when a political party no longer wants to hold debates in a non-partisan way?

    What happens when an independent group independently arrives at a view different than yours?

    Just re-double your attacks!!

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/16/2012 - 01:47 pm.


      The League has always been partisan hacks, it’s just that republicans always played along with their charade in order to be civil. But now they’re getting a little too obvious.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 02/17/2012 - 08:59 am.

        Yes but…

        Why should we believe you? You’ve state that you believe women shouldn’t vote. Of course you’d think that the League of WOMEN Voters is a hideous organization.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/16/2012 - 09:31 am.

    Credit where due.

    At least Laura Wang had the honesty to own the leftist flag the League is waving. I highly encourage her and her group to educate would-be voters on the proper proceedure when this measure passes.

    Maybe, in the spirit of non-partisan service to the community, the League will assist people who need help getting the required ID. That would be wonderful.

    • Submitted by David Beimers on 02/16/2012 - 10:22 am.

      Those Leftists!

      I can’t believe those Leftists at the LWV! Wanting to preserve the constitutional right to vote? What sort of partisan madness is this! How dare they not support all the Republican ideas to amend the Constitution! How dare they not provide a blanket agreement to support and implement the specious agenda of the Republican party!

      In all seriousness, this is a bad idea and an unnecessary idea. And if it passes, which it will if it goes to the voters, the LWV will need to support the implementation of it. This is an effort on the part of the Republican Party to suppress voters. The LWV will have to work tirelessly to ensure that as many people as possible get their new voting ID card so that voter suppression is minimized. I’m sure it is not how they would prefer to spend their time, but given their mission, I’m sure that is what they will do. Silly Leftists wanting to help disenfranchised people vote! How dare they?

      • Submitted by David Johnson on 02/16/2012 - 04:20 pm.

        There is no “right” to vote

        Much like the common-place misconception that the US is a democracy, there is no Constitutional “right” to vote as there is a right to free speech or to keep and bear arms.

        “In its 2000 ruling, Alexander v Mineta, the [U.S. Supreme] Court … affirmed the district court’s interpretation that our Constitution ‘does not protect the right of all citizens to vote, but rather the right of all qualified citizens to vote.’ And it’s state legislatures that wield the power to decide who is ‘qualified.’

        As a result, voting is not a right, but a privilege granted or withheld at the discretion of local and state governments…. the U.S. is one of just 11 nations among 120 or so constitutional democracies that fail to guarantee a right to vote in their constitutions.”

        And for the record, we are NOT a democracy. The Founders abhored democacy as mob rule and called it the “tyranny of the majority.” We are a Constitutional Republic. Which is also why the “national vote” movement to bypass the electoral college is not only wrong, but underminds the very foundation of our federalist political system.

        So all this wailing about “it’s a right!” and “trying to take away our rights!” is all crap.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/16/2012 - 01:49 pm.

        Couple of things

        David, I always believed that if you have to reduce an argument to hyperbole, you’ve taken up an untenable position.

        No one would argue that voter ID puts further requirements in place to excersize our franchise, and we can argue about how inconveinent those requirements are, but you cannot argue that they, of themselves, disenfranchise anyone. The Supreme Court has vetted this issue and found our constitutional rights are intact; there are no newly disenfranchised people for leftists to help.

        Those are facts.

        I’m all in favor of leftists, conservatives and fence sitters lending anyone a hand in meeting this new requirement. I’d look at it as an opportunity to get voters more educated about the votes they’d like to cast as a bonus. Engage them in conversation; give them a chance to make an informed decision instead of just loading them up on busses with marching orders.

        • Submitted by David Beimers on 02/17/2012 - 10:16 pm.

          Disenfranchisement is depriving someone of the right to vote. By creating unnecessary barriers that limit access to voting, that is exactly what we would be doing. I’ve been spent a lot of time working with impoverished families. They move a lot. Sometimes every two or three months. Running down to the DMV to drop $24 on a new driver’s license isn’t a priority. However, if the amendment passes, without that driver’s license with their current address, they won’t be able to vote. Intentionally creating roadblocks that make it more difficult for certain classes of citizens should be condemned, regardless of what the supreme court might say.

          • Submitted by David Johnson on 02/19/2012 - 01:13 pm.

            Not true

            Under the proposed plan, the people in your hypethetical would be given a provisional ballot which would not be counted until residency and citizenship were verified. So your fear mongering that the “poor” wouldn’t be able to vote is simply untrue. MN is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t employ a provisional ballot, so people who double vote, vote illegally, etc. can vote and, even if caught their votes cannot be pulled from the totals, so the damage is done.

            Just another strawman argument from the left to protect their voting base: illegals, double voting students and felons.

            • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 02/20/2012 - 09:19 am.

              Call me paranoid, but…

              It seems awfully convenient that these peoples’ votes will be held aside and supposedly counted later. Who verifies citizenship and residency? And how? How is it any different than what we do now? And how is it a good idea to hold an individual’s vote aside? Isn’t voting supposed to be anonymous? So, someone doesn’t have an ID, but can verify citizenship and residency some other way (as they do now), but they must wait until AFTER voting to truly verify it, while their individual vote is held aside for “verification…” It seems like an awfully big window for broader election fraud than simple voter fraud. Now, instead of having the potential for a handful of individual people voting illegally, we upped the ability of the system to remove specific individuals’ votes or using intimidation to keep these individuals from voting. If this is a matter of potential fraud, the solution only changes the potential from individual fraud to broad election fraud rather than eliminate fraud (which is a questionable side effect of requiring ID, anyway).

  3. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 02/16/2012 - 09:39 am.

    League and, ahem, Partisanship

    I’m not a member of LVW, but I do understand that the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to vote. The GOP is trying very hard to limit that right to vote to people who have the means and access to jump through extra hoops (does that sound familiar to anyone who studied the south and voting a generation or two ago?).

    So as far as I can tell, it’s the GOP that is being partisan. The League is trying to uphold the US Constitution. How can that be partisan!?

    I heard Mark Dayton say the other day that any legislation impacting the right to vote should have active support of both parties. I agree. The right to vote is so foundational to democracy, and it’s absolutely right of the League to resist a diminution of that right.

    We have an amazing track record of voting in Minnesota, with incredibly rare fraud. In fact the only fraud prosecutions in the past few elections were for felons not ‘off paper’ yet.

    A photo ID would not have stopped these few occurrences. The ‘problem’ is manufactured, the ‘solution’ limits the right to vote. Opposing a slap to the most basic of rights is in fact patriotic and in the fine tradition of women’s suffrage, which was the source of the League after all.

  4. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 02/16/2012 - 09:49 am.

    21st Century Poll Tax

    The Republican Party has shifted so far to the right from its founder, Abraham Lincoln, that if he were alive today he wouldn’t recognize the uber-conservatives that dictate all of these hateful policies to deny people basic rights.

    This is nothing more than a 21st Century version of a poll tax. Make people prove they are worthy to vote. The League of Women Voters has said the number of people who could be denied the most basic right of a democracy at between 8 and 11 percent. And the ONLY reason is because the people most likely to be denied are the very people the Democrats rely on at the polls. I’m sure that if statistics said these people voted Republican, this bill would disappear in a second. There is virtually NO vote fraud in this state or even in this country. It is essentially an urban myth to salve the egos of the people who are defeated. Instead of telling themselves they are completely out of touch with the voters, they say that it was voter fraud.

    Mary Kiffmeyer, the author of this bill, has state other extreme rightwing beliefs, including there is no separation of church and state.

    • Submitted by David Johnson on 02/16/2012 - 04:18 pm.

      Sorry, but SCOTUS disagrees

      You really ought to read the news before posting. The news from 2008, that is.

      “In a 6-to-3 ruling in one of the most awaited election-law cases in years, the court rejected arguments that Indiana’s law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and less likely to have driver’s licenses or other acceptable forms of identification. Because Indiana’s law is considered the strictest in the country, similar laws in the other 20 or so states that have photo-identification rules would appear to have a good chance of surviving scrutiny.”

      And one more point. Abraham Lincoln did not found the Republican Party, he was its first presidential candidate. From Wiki:

      “Founded in Northern States in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party. The main cause was opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise by which slavery was kept out of Kansas. The Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting where the name “Republican” was suggested for a new anti-slavery party was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.”

      But that aside, your implication that Lincoln somehow would agree with you that we don’t need to know who votes in our elections is ridiculous. There is no proof that he disagreed with deferring to the state legislatures, as required by the constitution, to decide who is qualified to vote. So your point, and those of all your pro-vote fraud fellow travellers is a non seqitur.

    • Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 02/16/2012 - 04:41 pm.

      Mary Kiffmeyer is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and, in 2011, its state chair. She participates in ALEC national meetings at which legislators and large corporations create legislation to be passed, whenever possible, in the states.

      Voter i.d. and the other constitutional amendments on offer are ALEC creations. As are most of the bills proposed by the current Republican majority. They punish the poor to further enrich insurance companies and other large corporations. For her to call those who oppose voter i.d. or any of the other such bills “partisan” is nonsense.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 02/17/2012 - 09:09 am.

        With respect

        Bernice, what does *any* of that have to do with the subject at hand? I keep reading anguished leftists moaning “ALEC, ALEC”, but I have never yet read anyone explain how membership in a perfectly legal organization in any way impacts the validity of anything.

        ALEC is a conservative organization, we get it. So what? Does the fact that the ACLU has a neo-Communist history invalidate it’s positions?

        You’re going to have to do better, in my opinion, if you wish to persuade the thoughtful reader that this “ALEC” campaign is anything more than another specious, lefty chanting point.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 02/17/2012 - 09:31 pm.

          The dirty little secret

          about ALEC is out Mr. Swift. The right wing would prefer that voters not be aware of the insidious influence of ALEC on legislation dumped into the hopper at our state capitol by legislators under the influence.

          It’s a fact Mr. Swift and not a chanting point.

          See: Report Exposes How Corporate Lobbyists Draft Minnesota Laws


          Good luck in trying to blow this one off, Mr. Swift.

          The ACLU does not write legislation in cooperation with corporate lobbyists and then pass them on as scripts to willing shills in the state legislature.

          The ACLU does not sign up “members” for chicken feed – so that they can keep proceedings secret – and then provide thousands in “scholarships” to support junkets.

          To see a comparison of some of the ALEC scripts with bills see the report by Common Cause that is available for download:

          Legislating Under the Influence

          Senjem claims he didn’t know who was a member of ALEC? Pathetic. He was the Senate sponsor of an ALEC bill. Garofalo rides in the back pocket of ALEC on matters related to education. Zellers doesn’t remember whether he is a member.

          Trying to hide ALEC and what it means from the voters next November is a fool’s errand, Mr. Swift.

        • Submitted by David Johnson on 02/19/2012 - 01:38 pm.

          Liberal hypocrisy

          These same people who now have ALEC as a boogyman and scream that their lobbying efforts are somehow illegitimate say nothing when the very same thing is done by the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Brennan Group, Tides Foundation or other Soros-funded think tanks and legislation-writing lobbyists on the left.

          Who do you think wrote the 2000-page Obamacare legislation – elected Representatives?? Wrong, it was created and refined over several years by left wing advocates. Originally penned by the imprisoned husband of Jan Schakowsky, the most far-left member of Congress from IL, it was refined by Van Jones’ old alma matter, Apollo Alliance and presented as a turnkey piece of legislation to Pelosi. So their feigned indignation at a group of conservative thinkers creating and lobbying for legislation is hypocrisy at its finest.

          The official “author” of the bill, Sen Max Baucus of MT, admitted that, although claiming to have written it, he hadn’t actually read the bill before it was voted on.

          “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”

          I would admonish the lefties here for carping about a practice that they themselves do every day, but that would be futile.

  5. Submitted by Tim Walker on 02/16/2012 - 10:06 am.


    The League of Women Voters certainly does have an agenda.

    It’s called “Participatory Democracy.”

    Why does Rep. Kiffmeyer object to that?

    Does she think voter suppression is an American value, cherished by our Founding Fathers?

    Or what?

  6. Submitted by Peter Soulen on 02/16/2012 - 10:59 am.

    I for one…

    …if this amendment passes, will personally go out and do my best to find three people who might have trouble dealing with the voter ID requirement and help them acquire their IDs. It may not be unconstitutional to pursue this partisan amendment, but it sure is odious. Ick! What a way to get elected.

  7. Submitted by Dee Ann Christensen on 02/16/2012 - 12:00 pm.

    Republican Caucus Attendees

    Did the Republican party require Voter ID in order to vote at their recent caucuses? Certainly the same principles they assert for Mn elections would apply to their party elections.

  8. Submitted by David Mensing on 02/16/2012 - 01:22 pm.

    Who is moving where?

    Has the League of Women Voters moved left or has the Republican party moved right? I don’t think there is any question. It is unconscionable for a 21st Century Republican to even think of raising taxes, there are purity tests for that issue, abortion rights, gay rights etc. A recent poll said that a majority of Republicans favored Obama’s “accomodation” on birth control, but how many Republicans have publicly backed it? There is no longer moderation in the Republican party, which is too bad for Mitt Romney, but it is really too bad for the country, too.

    One by one, organizations thought of as non-partisan are sneered at by Republicans who think the only truth is provided by Fox News. Common Cause, LWV, any environmental group, AARP, the list goes on and will get longer.

  9. Submitted by Gay Trachsel on 02/16/2012 - 02:50 pm.

    Voter ID

    The rationale for this amendment is flawed. The only type of problem MN has at it’s elections is the occurrence of a felon who is not “off papers” voting. He/she may not understand that they cannot vote even though they are not in jail unless they have completed their parole. Having a photo ID will not stop this. We do not have people impersonating other people to vote. Having said that, this new proposed law will add millions to our already huge deficit. The sponsors of this bill do not talk about that fact. The education to explain to voters and those running the elections all over the state will be only one expense. After the first year where the legislature may move money around to fund a law, it is not unusual to stop the funding for future years and the costs are passed on to counties. We do not have funds now to fix REAL problems, so why do we want to add another financial burden to Minnesotans for a problem that does not exist.
    This is not a partisan issue this is the RIGHT to vote for every citizen. Republicans are making it partisan by by- passing Governor Dayton to force this on the ballot. They were not elected to put everything into a constitutional amendment if they couldn’t do their job and come to some compromise on issues. Time to give their salaries back to the people for failure to complete their work!!

  10. Submitted by Ann Baxter on 02/16/2012 - 03:28 pm.

    LWV is not for Democrats only… or Women only!

    I was a Republican when I joined the League of Women Voters back in 2002. The Republican Party then was far different than it is today. My positions, and those of League, have not changed, however I no longer recognize the party to which I belonged for 30 years. When it was founded 92 years ago this week, the League fought for and won the right for all women to vote. That is a core part of who our organization is and will always be.

    Kiffmeyer’s assertion that the League is agenda-driven is absurd. The League’s position on voter rights has been clear since its inception. I can’t help but wonder if she applies this same unfounded claim to the many, many other organizations who also oppose this amendment — religious organizations, city councils, county officials, organizations working on behalf of the poor, the elderly, veterans, students and people of color. All will suffer under this senseless and wasteful attempt to limit voting.

    As for the cost? Democracy loses, citizens lose and taxpayers lose. The GOP can’t even tell us what this will cost, yet claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. There is no problem, yet they want to spend millions.

  11. Submitted by r batnes on 02/16/2012 - 06:47 pm.

    Kiffmeyer accusing any group or individual of being “agenda-driven” is laughable and ironic in the extreme.

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 02/16/2012 - 08:08 pm.

    First, it’s not uncommon for ID information to differ from voter registration information. Jane Doe may have registered to vote as Jane Doe but her driver’s license may say Jane M. Doe. The address on my driver’s license is not the address I registered to vote under. Second, photo verification gives poll workers discretionary authority. All they would have to do to turn a voter away is to say “That doesn’t look like you.”

    I’d still support photo IDs if there was a major fraud problem. But balancing negligible fraud against inevitable disenfranchisement even for those with ID, and I think the interest of democracy disfavors the photo ID requirement.

  13. Submitted by Jerry Buerge on 02/16/2012 - 08:53 pm.

    The Womens Vote

    I don’t have a dog in this race because I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

    However, I am enough of an observer of human nature to understand that womanhood has the unique feature, otherwise called “the ability” to sense the feeling then often drives their sisters to adopt a position they believe to be important to their gender and reflective of the gains they have made through past eons of effort.

    They won the right to vote when others believed they did not have enough smarts to properly do so.

    Do you imagine that they might choose to review such history and take special note of those who have decided that they know best about restricting the ability of the voting public to only those special folks who qualify in a way that favors their chosen set of principles dedicated to the election of their brothers of equal mind ?

    If so, this new requirement for a photographic ID may never fly higher then the ink printed on the ballot this November.

  14. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 02/16/2012 - 11:13 pm.

    The League and fraud

    From their Policy statement:

    “We are nonpartisan in our advocacy, though we are political in the sense that we seek to affect the outcome of legislation or policy.”

    That’s talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    From Program for Action 2011-2013:

    “Public Policy on Reproductive Choices…Protect the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.” (Page 1) (Ed. Note: “reproductive choices” is a euphemism for fetal homicides.)

    LWVMN – Government Spending: support maintaining “a viable statewide transportation system, including public transit”. (page 8)

    LWVMN Position: Support restrictions on the sale, possession and use of firearms by private parties in the state of Minnesota. (Page 14)

    “Oppose an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Minnesota granting an individual the right to bear arms.” (Page 14)

    “Support…In-state tuition at state colleges and universities under the same conditions for all Minnesota residents”. (Page 14)

    “Recognition by the Department of Public Safety of the matricula consular as an acceptable document to prove identity for obtaining a driver’s license.” (Page 14)

    The LWVMN is lying when they state they are non-partisan. They have gone beyond the mandate of their own title.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 02/17/2012 - 11:07 am.

      You don’t seem to know what “non-partisan” means

      Taking some positions Republicans disagree with doesn’t make them partisan. Republicans, at least some Republicans, once believed in voting rights and honest debate. They don’t anymore. That’s what changed.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/17/2012 - 12:55 pm.

      No fraud just postitions


      “We are nonpartisan in our advocacy, though we are political in the sense that we seek to affect the outcome of legislation or policy.”

      That’s talking out of both sides of their mouths.”

      It looks like your a little confused about the nature of partisanship. To be non-partisan is to be independent of the political parties. A non-partisan is not required to be moderate, or centrist, they’re just not affiliated with a particular political party. The League of Women Voters is by definition a liberal organization in the sense they were originally formed to promote universal suffrage, which is a liberal principle. However being liberal does not make them partisan because it does not tie them to the Democratic party. The League doesn’t endorse candidates, or make political contributions, or produce ad or campaign material for any party or candidate. They take positions on issues, but the fact that you notice they tend to take liberal positions on issues does not make them partisan. They are not talking out of both sides of their mouth when declare that may endorse certain public policies, but not political candidates or parties. The fact that the League tends to line up with Democrats on issues does not make them a branch of the Democratic party, and certainly does not prevent them from sponsoring fair and informative debates, town meetings, or forums.

      I know it’s hard for ideologues to understand how bias can be neutralized, but it can. Despite their liberal tendencies the League provides an impartial forum for debate and discussion.

      The the League is very unlike something like the Chamber of Commerce for example. The Chamber does endorse candidates, produce political ads, and contribute to Republican campaigns, it is actually partisan although technically I think they claim not to be.

      • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 02/18/2012 - 08:33 pm.

        Objective fact

        does not convince you. I cite fact and you deny its existence.

        There’s no point in this. Ever.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/17/2012 - 08:54 am.


    The partisan accusations being lobbed at the League are yet another demonstration that the right wing agenda lacks integrity. For the right wing everything is politicized, everything is partisan, you are either one of us or one of them. This is how we got so polarized as a society. Of course the lie is that what matters is what side your one, not whether or not your right or wrong. You’ll notice the leagues facts an analysis are not actually being challenged in any coherent way, they’re just being attacked for opposing a Republican initiative, as if that opposition in and of itself proves their wrong. They’re not wrong because the Republicans are right, they’re wrong because they’re not supporting Republicans. This is a duplicitous and dishonest discourse because it pretends that partisan loyalty rather than rational assessment determine whether or not voter ID is a good idea. Republican partisanship is the cornerstone of American democracy but everyone elses partisanship is an outrage.

    The league doesn’t appose voter ID because they’re Democrats, the oppose it because they think it will disenfranchise voters. Cut through all the crap here and you can easily see that voter ID is not about preventing voter fraud, it will not guarantee election integrity, and it is designed to make voting unnecessarily difficult. The League of Women Voters has been about expanding voters rights and enfranchising voters for 92 years, not because they’re Democrats but because they believe in democracy.

    I attended a League of Woman Voters forum on voter ID months ago. Kiffmeyer, Steve Simon ( Democratic Senator and opponent of voter ID) and a representative from the Secretary of States office participated. The Secretary of State representative opened the forum with a basic description of how elections currently work, and voters are currently registered and verified. Kiffmeyer for her part gave a underwhelming performance, The primary champion of voter ID repeatedly ignored basic questions like how much voter ID would cost or how it the program would paid for. She couldn’t explain how absentee ballots could be cast, she didn’t even try, she just ignore the question and talked about something else. The author of the voter ID bill could not explain exactly what kinds of ID would be valid, or how poll workers would be able to verify them. Nor cold she respond to the fact that the felons who voted illegally actually had a valid ID and would have been allowed to vote anyways. Kiffmeyer could not demonstrate an actual problem that voter ID is addressing, and when pressed produced bogus numbers and anecdotes. Kiffmeyer didn’t choke because the forum was tilted, she choked because she didn’t have the answers and her argument has enough holes in it to drive a truck through. And of course right wing activists were there attacking the League for even having the forum in the first place.

    Proponents of voter ID can’t argue about the leagues facts because the facts are against them, so like any good lawyer, they’re simply calling the other guy names and trying to smear them. I’ll tell ya why they attack the League, because the league provides a forum that requires intelligent and respectful debate in an informative context. Sure, a forum like that is tilted against anyone selling a bad argument based on irrational fear and bogus information. The strategy here is to kick up as much dust as possible to obscure the facts, exploit fear, and capitalize on ignorance. The end result is tens of thousands of disenfranchised voters and a needlessly complex and problematic election process.

  16. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 02/19/2012 - 09:02 pm.

    Disappointed at this “he said/she said” article

    I challenge the MN Post to find all examples of proven voter fraud in Minnesota in the last 20 years and publish an article about it so that people can see the real numbers here. I realize your resources are thin, but this is too important, and the mainstream media is ignoring the question. We are talking about disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of people – the biggest blow to democracy in modern Minnesota history – to prevent “fraud”. Responsible publications need to make sure readers know what the “fraud” actually consists of.

    this is exactly the sort of issue where Minnpost can shine. I hope you take the time to follow up and do a prominent story on the total extent of court-convicted voter fraud in this state.

    Because I’m sure it wouldn’t take you very long. There’s no “there” there.

  17. Submitted by David Johnson on 02/20/2012 - 02:16 pm.

    How the system would work

    It is clear from the many uninformed comments above that very few, if any, opponents actually have taken the time to learn what the legislation proposes. Here is a video on how the system would work and why it’s a far better one than what we have now.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2012 - 11:47 am.

      Not so fast

      There are several problems with the we want voter ID video.

      First, the video claims that over 30,000 registration cards were returned as undeliverable, and latter found to be empty lots etc. This information is simply false. The organization responsible for this figure has never produced the data or explained how they arrived at this figure, it appears to have been made up. The secretary of state has tried to verify this claim several times and has not been able to do so. The actual numbers a fraction of a fraction of this and usually attributed to entry errors, not fraud.

      Second, complaints and problems with same day registration exaggerated, no real data is presented.

      Third, vouchers are misrepresented. The reason one person is allowed to vouch for so many people is make voting possible for residents of group homes and nursing facilities. The video implies that people just show up with 15 voters in tow and vouch for them. In reality that person is usually a staff member that has transported the people as a group from the facility to polling place. Sure, the staff may be new, and may not know everyone in a large group personally, but they know where they brung em from, and that’s all they’re vouching for. These voters obviously have no photo ID and no need for one. Another vouching scenario is women from battered women’s shelters. In this scenario such women don’t have up to date photo IDs for safety reason. People forget that state issued ID are public information, that can be accessed by stalkers and others. If these women were required to obtain a valid ID listing their address they’d be making their location a matter of record which would not only them but the shelter itself to danger.

      Fourth, the video fails to mention that false vouching, or lying about your address is actually a felony perjury violation in MN and these instances are referred to the county prosecutors. This carries a five year prison sentence. In one instance a law student was convicted and consequently prohibited from ever becoming a lawyer in addition to serving prison time. Voter fraud is not an easy and inconsequential matter.

      Fifth, the video exaggerates the problem of people currently turned away at the polls and provides no actual data or numbers. The video also minimizes the impact of casting a provisional ballot and being required to verify addresses within ten days. You have to remember that you don’t return to the polling place within ten days, you have go to the counties election center which in some places requires a 160 mile round-trip. Nor can one guarantee they can get the required photo ID within ten days, and these provisional ballots would delay voting results.

      Sixth, the video claims that the mailed registration cards would no longer be necessary, however if we eliminate them we’d have no way of verifying whether not not the address on the ID really is the lived at address and this would negate all of the alleged benefits of having photo ID in the first place.

      The video offers absolutely no information about how much this would cost, or who would pay for it.

      The video presents us with this nifty image of a computerized automated system where IDs are swiped and everything is computerized, and no paper needs to be printed. In the real world we have millions of votes being cast at a couple thousand polling places and things go wrong, machines crash, modems fail, transmitters fail etc. Computers and modems crash, and technology malfunctions. So if a card swiper or a laptop crashes, what’s the backup? How do you verify IDs if the swiper crashes? Not only can you not verify IDs but you wouldn’t even have a list of registered voters on hand. This requires an entirely new, flawless, and unbreakable system, not just a few card swipers plugged into a laptop. Instead of simplifying the process this is actually adding another layer of unnecessary complexity and technology on top of the existing system.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2012 - 05:09 pm.

    Blather eh

    I forgot, the video doesn’t cite any sources either. As for that 23,000 returned cards, if you actually go to the report provided by Mr. Johnson above, you find the total number cards reported returned in 2010 was 399. Yes, 399. Here’s a link to the actual report:

    Now you have to remember, these cards were returned, which means those people were not registered to vote, and could not vote until their addresses were verified.

    As I said, that 23,000 appears to be a fabrication, no source for that number has ever been provided, and you’ll note, given a chance, Mr. Johnson has not provided a source either. As for the other articles Johnson points to, one is an article about 175 over votes the Republicans claimed to have found but turned out to not to exist in the Franken Coleman election. The other article talks about over vote claims Emmer tried to make but got nowhere with, and asks if there could have been 30,000 fraudulent votes and concludes “no” there wasn’t. I’m sorry Mr. Johnson but there’s no there- there with your sources.

    I stand by my blather.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/22/2012 - 10:12 pm.

    Blather Indeed

    That reminds, another problem with the We Want Voter ID video is that they don’t cite any sources for their information. As for my source, well let’s use Mr. Johnson’s.

    Before we look at the sources I should point out that Mr. Johnson appears to be a little confused about the information in the video itself. In his comments above her refers to 23,000 over-votes, but the video doesn’t make any references to over-votes. The 23,000 figure is a reference to registration cards that are mailed out and returned as undeliverable. These figures are supposed to be from the the 2008 election, but that data wasn’t collected by the Secretary of State until the 2010 election. The group responsible for that figure has never explained how they arrived at that figure, it appears to be an outright fabrication.

    At any rate, if you follow the link within the link that Mr. Johnson give us, it takes you to a Secretary of State report on the 2010 election. In 2010 there were 399 cards returned as undeliverable. Let me say that again: 399.

    The other two links Mr. Johnson provides are outdated stories about over-votes that Coleman and Emmer claimed to have found for a while but turned out to have been exaggerations. You can check them yourselves but note the dates and remember that both Coleman and Emmer eventually abandoned these claims.

    I stand by my blather.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/23/2012 - 09:15 am.

    Sorry for the double post

    There seems to have been a longer than usual delay in the posting of comments yesterday, when I didn’t my comment appear after several hours I assumed I’d screwed up when I first posted it and re-wrote it. I guess you got a double dose of blather.

  21. Submitted by David Johnson on 02/23/2012 - 03:48 pm.

    Still just blather

    Lovely strawman argument you have there ignoring the fact that there were thousands more votes cast than registered voters. You may consider their work fiction, but the DOJ does not. Even the DOJ agrees that Ritchie and the DFL stooges in the SOS office were either complicit or incompetent. Then Obama’s DOJ was installed and the case was quickly buried.

    “Among the early findings submitted to the Department of Justice in the first letter, dated Nov. 17, 2008, were that thousands more votes were cast than voter records supported, and that the registration rolls contained thousands more voters who had died, moved away, were registered at vacant lots or were undocumented aliens. Those charges, sent to the Justice Department in the waning days of the Bush administration, were supported by the former Minnesota Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican.

    Two months later, “just as the administrations were changing, we met with FBI agent Brian Kinney in our office and he went through the documentation,” McGrath continued. “When he left he said he had enough to file a complaint. We never heard from him again.”

    And it’s not just in MN. People actually willing to do their jobs find it elsewhere like that bastion of union machine politics in WI.

    So drink the koolaid all you want and deny the facts on the ground. It will be to no avail. With 80% support for passage you have already lost the battle. MN voter ID will pass making it harder for progressive liberal cheaters to steal our elections as they have the past 2 cycles. Continue tilting at your windmills, progressives, the time of your ability to stuff the ballot boxes is ending.

  22. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/23/2012 - 07:50 pm.

    Straw Men?

    David writes:

    “Lovely strawman argument you have there ignoring the fact that there were thousands more votes cast than registered voters… ”

    I think it’s nice how you keep changing the subject every time your information is debunked. Now we’re on to this “thousands more votes than voters” claim. You keep pointing to these circular and self referential “reports”, but you don’t provide any real information. You keep producing links to two or four year old news reports as if nothing happened after that. The reason no one ever investigated Minnesota Majority’s claims is because there was nothing to investigate, the so-called “report” turned out to be a joke. The so-called study claimed that “thousands” more votes were cast than voters, but they couldn’t actually give anyone a number or explain where they go their numbers. MM claimed to have found “hundreds” of felon voters when in fact there were 34. MM claimed that the Secretary of State had failed to purge the voter records, that’s a false claim. Where is this Minnesota Majority “report”? Why do you keep giving us links to two year old Fox news stories in stead of the actual reports or data?

    “Thousands” isn’t a number David. You don’t do a “study” and come up with a figure of “thousands”, you either get a number or you don’t, that’s the first clue that there’s a problem with these claims, and it just goes downhill from there. Sure these “claims” were made years ago. What you seem to have missed is the fact they were investigated and found to be bogus.

  23. Submitted by Mark Rittmann on 02/24/2012 - 01:34 am.


    Why does Mr Swift continue to post? Save for the fact he has an opinion and is free to express it, what do his posts add to the discussion?

    His posts provide no new information, do not engage the issues under discussion, and often devolve into ad hominen attacks. His posts are the best example of why people stop reading comments posted on sites like MNPost.

    Engage the topic, stop the ad hominen attacks and address the issues.

    I disagree with the political right, but I look for engagement in the political discussion. I am willing to hear conservative arguments that engage the concern. I am not willing to participate in flame out nonsense.

    Mr Johnson at least brings to the table something to consider. His information may be outdated, as one commentator posted, but at least he does not simply post the same drivel and retreat to ad hominen attacks.

    We all have a political agenda. Every one posting has a political point of view..

    That is the nature of political discourse. The fact that we have a political perspective, be it left or right, does not negate the view presented.

    Hold off on the ad hominen attacks and address the issues presented by your political adversary.

    We are not running for office folks. We can engage in cross the aisle discussion without pandering to the base.

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