Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Photo ID hypocrisy tour comes to Minnesota

Tonight, thousands of Minnesotans will go to party caucuses in their neighborhood. They will gather with neighbors, discuss issues, and some will cast a ballot for President in the Republican straw poll. And nobody will ask them for Photo ID, even at the Republican caucuses. Why? You would think that the party that is so concerned with voter impersonation would take every measure to ensure that their own Presidential straw poll is untainted.

Caucuses are party affairs, and the parties determine the rules. State law specifies who is eligible, but the parties determine how to enforce those provisions. The Republicans pushing the Photo ID amendment won't apply that standard to their own caucuses, even though they certainly could. Why? You'd have to ask the Minnesota GOP, but I'm guessing the reasons look a lot like the reasons we don't need or want Photo ID requirements for elections. Namely, depressed turnout, cost, complication, delays, and confidence that the people casting ballots are who they say they are.

It's fear of depressing turnout that is the big reason for the lack of a Photo ID requirement. Parties want to maximize their showing because these represent potential volunteers and high turnout to caucuses are a sign of party strength. That's why Republican BPOU's like SD 33 and SD 40 are so welcoming - who can caucus? Anybody!

The Iowa GOP was rightly excoriated for the same hypocrisy. Why doesn't the Minnesota GOP protect their own straw poll for President?

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