Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A solution in search of a problem

Here's a letter that Laura Brod, a New Prague Republican, and assistant House minority leader, has been circulating to newspapers in outstate Greater Minnesota:

Do you find it difficult to vote? Or do you just want assurances that elections are fair and legal? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie recently unveiled an election agenda that would significantly ease voting restrictions — including online voter registration and voting absentee for any reason.

While these proposals are well-meaning, they also lack a specific focus on ensuring security in our elections, and would likely make it even easier for non-Minnesotans to vote.

While citizens desire new technology and voting simplicity, they also want confidence in their election system. Voters need to be able to trust the process, trust the technology, and they must be assured that their legal ballots are not going to be negated by someone who is voting illegally.

Identity theft and fraud are becoming more common, and we need to ensure that our election processes can stand up to the test of those who wish to tamper.

House Republicans have consistently supported election initiatives that maintain the integrity and security of our voting system, such as showing photo identification before voting and instituting stronger vouching restrictions so only those who are legally eligible can participate.

But Ritchie all but ignored our common-sense initiatives — which are strongly supported by citizens throughout Minnesota. Election reform is important, so contact your state lawmaker and share your views.

In the meantime, we'll look forward to working with Ritchie on initiatives that strengthen the voting process, rather than making it easier for non-Minnesotans to influence an election outcome.

As a resident of Lesser Minnesota, Spot wants to know Rep. Brod, does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? Do you suffer from the heartbreak of "restless leg syndrome?" Are you convinced that the game of pool will lead to perdition? Maybe you and Harold Hill ought to get together, Rep. Brod.

In her little incitement to action, Rep. Brod mentions the increase in "identity theft and fraud." What she doesn't do, because she can't, is tie the efforts of digital thieves to voter fraud. And frankly, you'd have to be a pretty stupid thief to try to steal a vote here and there. Now that he thinks about it, Spot has never gotten a Nigerian voter-fraud scheme email!

How many voter fraud cases in Minnesota have you read about in the paper recently, boys and girls? Spot certainly hasn't seen any. If Rep. Brod's proposals ever gets a committee hearing, Spot hopes that Rep. Brod and her sidekicks will get a good grilling on the evidence behind statements like those contained in her letter.

Rep. Brod says that she just wants to be sure that "only those who are legally eligible can participate." Bull chips. What she really wants is to depress the turnout of the poor, the minorities, and the natives. For more on that, you'll have to go read Joe Bodell at Minnesota Monitor.

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