Thursday, August 04, 2011

Alas and ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council has received a lot of ink in recent days. One of ALEC's hot button issues is "voter ID," or more accurately voter suppression. It is an initiative aimed directly at poor people, seniors, students, and minorities. There is plenty of Republican dog whistling about not wanting the wrong people to vote, but it's couched in terms of preventing "voter fraud," when only a handful cases have ever been unearthed, and even those are mostly mistake or inadvertance: a felon votes before being "off paper," for example. There was a guy who voted for Norm Coleman in that situation in 2008.

The voter suppression bill that Governor Dayton vetoed was SF 509; it's companion in the House was HF 210.

Mary "Jesus is in my conference room" Kiffmeyer was a chief author in the House; I think she actually carried the bill. Kiffmeyer is even as I write this at an ALEC conference in New Orleans.

Warren Limmer, chief author and carrier of the bill in the Senate, is also an inteesting ALEC case. I emailed his office a couple of times a few weeks ago to ask if he was an ALEC member. After not receiving a response, I called and left a voice message asking the same question.

Some time later, when I was out, Sen. Limmer's LA called an left a message saying that he "had been" a member of ALEC, but was "no longer." The LA didn't say how "had been" his membership was, meaning it could be a long time, maybe the LA licked the envelope shut and mailed the termination of the senator's membership just before placing the call to me. Perhaps someday we'll find out.

In any event, voter suppression efforts in Minnesota do owe a lot to ALEC.

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