Voter ID: An Expensive Solution for a Problem That Doesn't Exist

An interesting piece popped up at Minnpost on Friday regarding the voter ID/restriction amendment:

When I first read about Minnesota's voter ID constitutional amendment I thought, no brainer. Most of us already have photo IDs, and given the voting hangovers some of us still nurse after Bush v. Gore or Franken v. Coleman, any law that could ensure more certitude in the voting process was good. I felt pretty certain I'd be voting "yes!"

I just needed answers to two simple questions: How much will implementing this new law cost, and how much voting fraud happens in Minnesota?

I emailed my representative, Kurt Bills, for more information.

Kurt promptly responded:

$1.5 mil for the free ID is projected. I think the actual cost will be lower though.

During 2008, the last presidential election year 38,000 postal verification cards were returned as such person or address.

For more information he referred me to and referenced "a felon study found at the Minnesota Majority web site."

When I sought Kurt's clarification on the 38,000 returned cards (were all these voter fraud?), he never responded, so I consulted his other sources.

Long story made short; Mr. Griffith found that the cost Voter ID will disproportionately fall on rural communities, and the incidence of voter impersonation -- the problem Voter ID purports to solve -- simply does not exist. The fraud that technically does exist appears to be the result of convicted felons not knowing whether they have regained the right to vote after having done their time - a rather shocking state of affairs, given our critically understaffed, underfunded, and broken criminal justice system.

And besides, Voter ID won't stop convicted felons from obtaining an ID.

Bottom line? Voter ID is a costly solution to a problem that exists only in the heads of frustrated conservative politicos, who from one side of their mouths insist that an expensive-but-meaningless mandate is necessary, while out the other claim to represent fiscal responsibility.

They are, of course, wrong on both counts.

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