Sunday, July 8, 2012

Speaking out on the voter ID amendment...

Below is my letter to the editor published in today's Duluth News Tribune opinion page. I spoke out about the proposed Minnesota voter ID amendment and to the DNT critic of the bipartisan effort to fight the proposal. (Check out the DNT link HERE.)

I was glad to see former Vice President Walter Mondale and ex-Gov. Arne Carlson sign on as leaders of the campaign to defeat the proposed state constitutional amendment that would require all Minnesota voters to show a photo ID at the polls. (“Opponents enlist Carlson, Mondale to fight proposal,” June 27 News Tribune.)

The bipartisan nature of their participation – Mondale is a Democrat and Carlson a Republican – should help persuade Minnesotans of both political leanings that the measure is nothing more than a Republican attempt to prevent some people from voting.

But what struck me about the News Tribune’s report was a statement by Republican Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority, which supports the ID amendment, saying he doesn’t believe Mondale and Carlson will influence the outcome.

“Having some former politicians … speak against it – these guys are no election experts. It’s not going to have any impact on the campaign.”

How’s that again? A former U.S. senator and vice president of the United States who also ran for president (Mondale) and a former two-term Minnesota governor, state auditor and lawmaker (Carlson) are no election experts? If they aren’t, who is?

I hope they have plenty of influence in opposing this misguided initiative reflecting Republican paranoia that there is an election fraud problem. That paranoia was never more in evidence than in the last gubernatorial election when Democrat Mark Dayton narrowly defeated Republican Tom Emmer. After the votes were first tallied, former state Republican chairman Tony Sutton angrily stated, “There’s something fishy going on here.”

Well, there is something fishy going on now: The Republican effort to codify in the state constitution a measure designed to make it difficult for many voters – especially those favoring Democrats – to exercise their franchise. It stinks to high heaven.

Jim Heffernan


Unknown said...

You are so right on all accounts. It is simply an effort to prevent people from voting who are less likely to vote for republicans. By the way, I was at a meeting with the Executive Director of the ACLU in May and he pointed out that if you did not have to present your birth certificate to get a Driver's License (it seems that somepeople have been required to do this), it would likely not be a "valid form of Government issued identification".

Jim Heffernan said...

Thanks for your note. Glad to hear from someone who agrees. This certainly is a polarizing subject, just like just about everything else these days. Thanks again. -- Jim